CHINA> About Xinjiang
Uygurs 'not being squeezed'
By Xie Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-17 08:23

The Chinese government has never squeezed the Uygur people out of Xinjiang, an expert said Thursday.

Some overseas media have claimed that the Chinese government "deliberately immigrated massive numbers of Han people into Xinjiang to change its demographic composition".

"I have noticed some articles and books published abroad are based on wrong figures," said Yang Shengmin, professor of Minzu University of China.

According to a survey by the Chinese government in 2005, more than 60 percent of people in Xinjiang are ethnic minorities, while less than 40 percent are Han people.

Besides, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region government has been adopting "preferential policies" for local ethnic minorities, he said.

For example, a Han couple can have only one child, in line with the country's family planning policy, while a Uygur couple can have two children in Xinjiang's cities, and three in rural areas. A Kazak couple can have four children.

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"So the population growth rate of ethnic minorities is higher than that of Han people," he said.

For example, in the 5th century in Turpan, now an oasis city in Xinjiang, the Han people had a much larger population than the Uygurs. But now, the Uygur population in Turpan accounts for more than 70 percent of the total population, Yang said.

The professor said Xinjiang has actually been home to various ethnic groups dating back to the "Silk Road" period. The population of different ethnic groups has changed in Xinjiang as people constantly moved in or out of this region.

The central government established administration in Xinjiang in 60 BC during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 24).