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Gov't Social Spending in Xinjiang Up by 26.8% in 2010

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The government in China's far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region increased social spending by 26.8 percent last year, renovating houses, creating jobs, and insuring more people in the health care scheme, a senior local official said Friday.

Social spending -- or 119.8 billion yuan (US$18.19 billion) -- accounted for 71 percent of total government spending in Xinjiang last year, said Nur Bekri, chairman of the autonomous region government, in his annual government report submitted to the local legislature.

Also, about 97,000 affordable houses were built, and homes of 70,000 households were renovated in slum areas. The government also built homes for 191,000 nomadic families, according to the report.

Further, the government ensured that at least one person in each of the region's 40,000 jobless families was employed during the past year, while helping 80 percent of the graduates from local universities and colleges secure jobs, the report said.

Also, social insurance covered 13.7 million people by the end of 2010, the report added.

Annual income of an average Xinjiang urban resident reached 13,500 yuan last year, up 10 percent, while the income of an average farmer rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to 4,500 yuan.

But the figures were still a far cry from those in affluent provinces on the country's east coast. In Jiangsu Province, farmers each earned 8,980 yuan on average in 2010, according to the provincial government's report.

The government of Xinjiang has also scaled up social spending to reduce poverty and boost development in Uygurs-dominated southern Xinjiang as a way to fundamentally maintain peace in the region.

(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2011)

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