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Inland provinces boosting employment in Xinjiang


Updated: 2015-07-06 10:18:20

URUMQI - A year ago when Weli Amet decided to leave Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Northwest China to work in a shoe factory in the south, he was unsure of the choice.

Weli, 24, never went to high school and doesn't speak mandarin. But the day he was promoted to the monitor of his workshop, he became absolutely sure that he made the right choice.

He and his wife earn a combined monthly income of over 7,000 yuan ($1,126), which enabled the couple to lead a comfortable life in city and support their families back home.

Weli Amet along with 102 others from Tumxuk city were the first group of employees assisted by Guangdong provincial government in a move to support development of several areas of southern Xinjiang, which suffers from poverty, high unemployment, harsh natural conditions and a dense population.

"Poverty often creates room for overseas separatist forces to penetrate," said Yang Fuqiang, an assistant researcher with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, citing various terror attacks in recent years, including one six years ago on July 5 that killed nearly 200 people and injured another 1,700 in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang.

"Addressing employment of the autonomous region's surplus labor is key to Xinjiang's social stability and economic development," Yang said.

The need to improve employment was pointed out by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a top priority at the second central work conference on Xinjiang in May 2014. Premier Li Keqiang also noted that employment is the biggest concern for Xinjiang people.

After the conference, 19 inland provinces intensified their efforts to promote employment among the ethnic people in the autonomous region.

Fang Lixu, sent by the Guangdong government to direct aid work in Xinjiang, said that a bi-directional flow, encouraging local ethnic people to seek employment in Guangdong and their companies to set up factories in Xinjiang, has been going smoothly.

Believing that developing labor-intensive industry is the best way to create jobs, officials from eastern Zhejiang province intentionally transferred their textile industry to cotton-rich areas in Xinjiang. By the end of April, the province has landed a total of 124 projects with 12,000 jobs expected to be created in the next few years.

Ruyi Group, one of China's largest textile manufacturers based in eastern Shandong province, signed an agreement in June last year with the Kashgar government, pledging to employ 26,000 people within two years in a top-level textile and clothing base.

According to the regional development and reform commission, inland provinces have invested 1.28 billion yuan over the past year in 72 textile projects to support local employment.

More than 100 nomads from a poverty-stricken county in Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture have resettled their life as factory workers in the coastal province of Jiangsu in east China.

"In Xinjiang's rural areas, a stable salary means a considerably better life for a whole family," said Lin Xiaoyi representing Jiangsu's Wuxi city on aiding works in Kizilsu. "We should try harder to help ethnic people who want to blend into a modern life through their hard work."

Data from the regional human resources and social security department showed that over 6,800 farmers and herdsmen were employed by companies in inland provinces in 2014. Another 15,000 are expected to work in those provinces this year, and 35,000 more in the next two years.

"I have learned a lot in my work. And I will persuade more of my fellow townsmen to work in this factory during my vacation home," Weli Amet said.