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Inner Mongolia Progress Lauded

China will speed up the introduction of supporting laws and regulations for autonomous and self-governing regions to further protect the rights of minority populations, Vice President Zeng Qinghong said.

"As a fundamental part of China' democracy, Inner Mongolia's great achievements symbolize victories of the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s ethnic policy," Zeng said.

He made the remarks yesterday in Huhhot, capital of northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the first of five province-level autonomous regions established in China. The region celebrated in 60th anniversary yesterday.

"The Party's ethnic policies have generated prosperity and harmony in the region," Zeng said. "We will also concentrate on fostering talents in minority populated areas so as to better improve policies."

He also called on religious figures and groups to play a bigger role in building a harmonious society and continue to protect ethnic cultural rights, but "we will act firmly against forces from home and abroad promoting ethnic separatism and religious extremism according to law".

With 55 minority groups, the region is leading the way as China's model for multiculturalism.

About one-fifth of the region's 24 million population are of an ethnic minority background. The autonomous region receives considerable support from Beijing.

Inner Mongolia's per capita GDP skyrocketed from 96 yuan in 1947 to 20,047 yuan in 2006, and could reach US$3,000 this year, ranking among the country's top 10 performers.

The basic rights of people, such as education, medical care and employment, have been guaranteed and the Mongolian language and traditional culture has also been preserved and carried forward, according to Yang Jing, chairman of the regional government.

Also yesterday, the central government delegation presented Inner Mongolia with a 5-meter-tall, 13-ton bronze "ding", an ancient-style cooking vessel with two looped handles and three legs.

Inscribed with the words "Treasure of Ethnic Unity" written by President Hu Jintao, the ding represents the 1.3 billion people who will unite and work together and create a brilliant future, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said in a letter from the central government.

"Solidarity means victory. Inner Mongolia is experiencing its best period in economic development and social stability, a bellwether leading the country," Hui said.

(China Daily August 9, 2007)

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