Historical Witness to Ethnic Equality, Unity and Development in Xinjiang
IX. State Support and Assistance to Xinjiang
The CPC and the Chinese government have always attached great importance to the development of Xinjiang, and have continuously increased their support and assistance. Over the past 60 years, the state's financial grants to Xinjiang totaled almost RMB1.7 trillion. The state and other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have at different times provided support to Xinjiang in various forms, acting as a strong driving force to boost the region's economic and social development.
State support has laid the foundation for Xinjiang's development. From the founding of the autonomous region to the launch of the reform and opening-up drive, the state had, by way of job allocation and job transfer, encouraged intellectuals and technical professionals to go to work in Xinjiang, called on young adults, urban educated youth and workers in inland areas of the country to support frontier development and encouraged demobilized service people to stay in Xinjiang and assigned them jobs there, thus fostering a generation of builders who have been hard-working and pioneering and took roots in the border areas. They have made an invaluable contribution to Xinjiang's economic and social development, to the cultivation and defense of the border regions as well as national security.
The state has supported Xinjiang to boost its development by adopting quite a number of measures, such as checking and ratifying on a yearly basis its balance of total revenues and expenditures, and turning in to the state the surplus while having the deficiency to be made up by the central budget; raising the proportion of budget reserves for ethnic minority areas; implementing preferential policies for ethnic trade companies; and establishing various special funds like special allowance funds of education for ethnic minority areas, and ethnic minority area allowances. From 1955 to 1978, the state subsidized Xinjiang with RMB7.19 billion accumulatively. With hefty state funds, many major infrastructure and other industrial projects in the region have been completed, including the Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway and the Karamay and Tarim oilfields.
The state has strengthened both policy and financial support to Xinjiang. Since the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy, the state has kept intensifying efforts to support Xinjiang in such fields as economy, education, science and technology, culture, medical services, ecological and environmental protection, and finance. From 1980 to 1988, the central budget provided a quota subsidy to Xinjiang with an average yearly increase of 10 percent. In 1994, when the state introduced tax revenue-sharing between the central and local authorities, it maintained the previous policies of providing subsidies and special allocations to ethnic minority areas. When it adopted transitional transfer payments the following year, it added special provision concerning the policy of transfer payments to ethnic minority areas.
The state has guided and encouraged businesses to invest in Xinjiang, and provided greater investment and financial support to Xinjiang. In 2005, it initiated pairing-assistance to the four prefectures and the three divisions under the XPCC in southern Xinjiang. In 2007, it promulgated the Opinions of the State Council on Further Boosting Xinjiang's Economic and Social Development.
The state has also trained and provided talents for Xinjiang. In the 1980s, it initiated a cooperative program between Xinjiang and more than 100 institutions of higher learning in other parts of the country, with the total enrollment eventually growing from 800 to 6,800. By 2014, these institutions had enrolled, accumulatively, 54,000 students of ethnic minority origins from Xinjiang, in addition to providing the autonomous region with 21,000 undergraduates and junior college graduates. In 2000, the state launched a program encouraging senior high schools in hinterland areas of the country to hold classes of students from Xinjiang, so far enrolling in total 70,000 from Xinjiang, 38,000 of whom have graduated, with 95 percent continuing their studies in colleges located in the developed provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Since 2003, junior high school classes have been set up in some cities of Xinjiang, enrolling to date a total of 61,300 students from remote impoverished aseas. Senior high school classes and secondary vocational classes were opened in 2011 in other parts of the country for Xinjiang students, which have thus far enrolled 13,200 students.
All of these senior-high-school and junior-high-school classes held in hinterland areas target mainly ethnic minority students from Xinjiang's farming and pasturing areas to offer them a better education. At present, more than 100,000 ethnic minority students are studying in nearly 600 schools in some 20 economically better developed provinces, municipalities directly under the central government and autonomous regions.
In 1996, the state began to extend support to Xinjiang's development by way of selecting and sending officials to work in Xinjiang. By 2014, it had sent eight complements numbering more than 11,000 officials and professionals. In 2004, a new initiative involved sending qualified professionals with doctor's degrees to work in the region. By 2014, 11 groups of 81 persons with doctor's degrees had gone and worked in the autonomous region through this project.
The state has also implemented a number of other talent training policies, such as selecting and appointing officials of ethnic minority origins to temporary posts in central government offices or in areas with better developed economy to get training; holding Xinjiang classes in inland higher-learning institutions and senior high schools; implementing such programs as the "Program for High-Caliber Personnel from Ethnic Minorities" and "Light of the West" for the training of visiting scholars; and giving special policy support to the development of higher-learning institutions located in the ethnic minority areas or the master's and doctor's degree granting centers of ethnic colleges and universities in terms of graduate enrollment size, etc.
The new round of pairing-assistance has yielded notable results. The First National Meeting on Pairing-Assistance to Xinjiang was held in March 2010. At the meeting, the central authorities decided to pair off 19 provinces and municipalities directly under the central government with 82 counties (cities) in 12 prefectures in Xinjiang and the 12 divisions of the XPCC to render support to the latter.
Moreover, the state has adopted a number of special policies to support Xinjiang's development, and these include: as of January 1,2015, ad valorem collection has been implemented for coal resources tax in Xinjiang at a rate of 6 percent; Xinjiang has been designated a key state-class comprehensive energy base and all-round efforts are called to improve the clean and efficient development, conversion and utilization of Xinjiang's energy resources; specific provisions have been made in eight aspects concerning officials and professionals coming to support Xinjiang's development, such as the scope and form of management authority, selection and rotation; a policy has been adopted to grant a two-year income tax exemption and three-year half pay for Xinjiang's enterprises listed in the "Catalog of Industries and Enterprises Enjoying Income Tax Preferences and Whose Development in Areas with Difficulties of Xinjiang (Trial)"; a policy covering 10 aspects of support to the two economic development zones in Kashi and Khorgos has been adopted; and differentiated industrial policies have been implemented for Xinjiang's 12 main industries.
The state's financial allowances to Xinjiang in the 2010-2014 period reached RMB1,061.65 billion, or a 1.68-fold increase over that in the 1955-2009 period, which stood at RMB630.15 billion. By the end of 2014, the 19 provinces and municipalities directly under the central government, which have been involved in the pairing-assistance to Xinjiang, had provided RMB53.6 billion of funds and undertaken 4,906 aid projects in Xinjiang, in addition to even a larger number of so-called livelihood projects in terms of urban and rural housing improvement, personnel training, employment, public health and community organization, bringing tangible benefits to the local people and markedly enhancing the development of science, education, culture and public health as well as improvement of the situation in rural areas. Relying on the 6,482 cooperative projects brought by the provinces and municipalities rendering support to it, Xinjiang had brought in RMB827.7 billion of investment.
The Second Central Meeting on the Work of Xinjiang held in May 2014 proposed to adopt special policies in finance, investment, banking and personnel to mainly support the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang so as to further promote the coordinated development of different areas in Xinjiang.