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By Shao Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-03-09 09:34

Corps keeps development on track in Xinjiang
Hua Shifei is commander of Xinjiang Production and Construction Crops.

URUMQI - The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) will continue to guarantee the development and security of the autonomous region, a top official of the Corps said.

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"Besides pushing forward economic development, we will also make more effort to maintain stability and guard borders," said Hua Shifei, commander of the XPCC.

The XPCC, founded in 1954, is a unique economic and semi-military government organization in Xinjiang. It has 14 divisions across the autonomous region, where more than 2.5 million people live.

The divisions, covering more than 70,000 square kilometers, represent 179 farms, 1,400 independent enterprises, 13 listed companies as well as universities, media outlets and medical institutions.

"The flow of manpower is the key to keeping the Corps strong," Hua said.

Being founded to reclaim farmland and safeguard borders, the divisions are mostly located in Xinjiang's harsh and remote areas, such as the edge of the Gobi Desert.

"It is unreasonable to force the younger generations to stay in the places where our generation struggled to make a living. The XPCC needs new blood," the commander said.

With 29 years of working experience in Altay prefecture, the most northern area in Xinjiang, the commander said he is proud and happy to see the younger generation of the XPCC leave to work in big cities in China and even other countries.

"I'm a senior farm-reclamation army man who gave my youth and dreams to Xinjiang. The spirit of our generation will be carried forward in the XPCC to accomplish our historic mission," said Hua.

"The newcomers may know little about the history of the Corps and seldom have commitment to it, thus we should energetically carry forward 'the Corps Spirit' to them," he added.

Hua said the big difference between working for a regular province or region and the XPCC is that the latter requires more perseverance and endurance.

The XPCC has incomplete administrative authority over several medium-sized cities as well as settlements and farms across Xinjiang, while it carries the same social burdens as the local government, Hua explained.

However, the bottleneck of the Corp's development - "the limitation in organization system" and "the lack of resources and investment" - was addressed in May 2010, when the central government unveiled an ambitious support package to boost development and maintain stability in the region.

After that, an annual subsidy of 2 billion yuan ($300 million) has been granted to the XPCC to push forward industrial development, which the commander says is unprecedented for the Corps.

Hua said the past five years are of particular significance to the development of the XPCC. The country's investment to the XPCC reached 18.2 billion yuan, while the total in the first 50 years of the Corps was less than 7 billion.

The GDP of the XPCC increased to 75 billion yuan in 2010 from 33.1 billion yuan in 2005.

From 2006 to 2010, the fixed asset investment in the XPCC exceeded 131 billion yuan, 2.3 times of that in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005) period. In addition, more than half of the fixed asset investment in the past five years was poured in industrial projects.

China Daily

(China Daily 03/09/2011 page2)

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