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Corps members hail Xi's care for Xinjiang's development

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-21 06:59
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A tractor equipped with the Beidou Navigation Satellite System plants cotton in a field in Xinjiang on March 31. [CHEN JIANSHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Members of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps said their sacrifices and hard work in transforming the most inhospitable areas of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region into a land of opportunity have paid off as President Xi Jinping hailed the corps' contribution to promoting Xinjiang's development, ethnic unity, social stability and border security during his recent visit.

In October 1954, the central government decided to demobilize troops in Xinjiang and established the corps to build arable and stock farms in the harsh environments of the Gobi Desert and the region's border areas. In 1998, the corps has been given an official status equal to that of Xinjiang's regional government.

More importantly, the corps has always served as a stabilizing force in a region that faces continuous threats of extremism, separatism and terrorism. It now has 14 divisions and more than 170 regiments and administers 11 cities.

On July 13, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, arrived at Shihezi, a city under the Eighth Division of the corps, during his latest inspection trip to Xinjiang from July 12 to 15.

He visited the corps' Museum of Military Reclamation in Shihezi, the former headquarters of the corps before it was moved to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Xi is very familiar with the history of the corps, said Gan Lin, the museum's director. "I can feel his care for the elder generations of corps members."

Gu Chenye, a guide at the museum, accompanied Xi during his museum tour.

"He has paid a lot of attention to the details of the working and living conditions of the corps' members in the past," Gu said.

On the first floor of the museum, Xi met with representatives of three generations of members of the corps. Sun Benxia, 85, from Shandong province, was among them. "I came to Xinjiang in 1954 to answer the call of the country, and have made it my home ever since. I have no regrets," Sun said.

Cao Yunming and his wife Zou Meiyu, who are both in their 80s, said meeting Xi and hearing him acknowledge the contribution of corps members meant a great deal to them. "We endured hardships when we were young, but all of the sacrifices and hard work have paid off as people can now live a good life in Xinjiang," Cao said.

The spirit of patriotism, dedication, hard work and enterprise displayed by members of the corps is an important part of the fine traditions of the Communist Party of China, and such a spirit must be carried forward, Xi said at the museum.

Then Xi left for a fact-finding trip of the area under the 143rd Regiment of the Eighth Division.

In the regiment's Huayuan Town Square, he stressed that the strategic role of the corps is irreplaceable. The functions and roles of the corps should be given full play as a stabilizer for securing national borders, a melting pot for uniting people of all ethnic groups and a demonstration area for developing advanced productive forces and culture, so that the corps will be further strengthened in maintaining stability and safeguarding borders in the new era, he said.

Xi also visited a cotton planting base of regiment's Agricultural First Company on the same day, where Xie Yong, an agricultural technician, briefed Xi about the growth of cotton.

"He looked pleased when I said that the cotton is growing very well and the yield per hectare is expected to reach 7,800 kilograms," Xie said. "The mechanization level in cotton growing in the company has reached more than 96.5 percent. Also, we're working on automating every process in cotton farming, so that workers can soon start the process of irrigation or spreading fertilizer in the fields simply by using their cellphones."

Xi said that with its high level of agricultural mechanization, large-scale agricultural development and industrialized operation as well as strengths in the production of grain, cotton, cooking oil, fruits and vegetables, the corps should play an even greater role in safeguarding China's food security and securing the supply of key agricultural products.

The corps has been the biggest cotton grower in Xinjiang in recent years. It produced more than 2.08 million metric tons of cotton in 2021, about 41 percent of the total cotton production of the region.

Meanwhile, Xinjiang produced about nearly 90 percent of the cotton in China in 2021. Furthermore, the corps has been taking the lead in the development of modern agriculture in China. By the end of 2021, the mechanization level in the corps' agricultural production has reached 95.3 percent.

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