Opinion / Editorials

Development key to stability

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-08 07:11

How should we address the social problems that have left the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region vulnerable to terror threats and ethnic tension?

Promoting social and economic development is essential for improving the quality of life for all ethnic groups and ensuring ethnic unity and lasting stability in Xinjiang, says a Xinhua News Agency commentary.

During his recent trip to Xinjiang, President Xi Jinping called development "the key" to all issues in the region, saying development should benefit the people, the local area and ethnic unity.

He ordered efforts be made to ensure a better life for residents who must "have jobs to do, money to earn and a promising future to enjoy".

The central government unveiled unprecedented aid packages to Xinjiang in 2010, aimed at boosting the region's per capita GDP so it would catch up with the national average in 2015 and fulfill the national goal of a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020.

Great strides have been made in Xinjiang in the fields of infrastructure, environment, poverty relief, employment and education since then. The region has recorded double-digit economic growth in recent years. More than 1.7 million welfare houses have been built for urban and rural residents as well as herdsmen, benefiting about a quarter of the region's 22.6 million people. Most residents are now covered by government medical insurance programs.

But despite these achievements, Xinjiang, which accounts for one-sixth of China's territory, still lags far behind the rest of the country economically and there are significant wealth and development imbalances that are exacerbated in mixed ethnic areas.

Xinjiang can profit from its geographical, cultural and resources advantages in the course of China's latest round of opening-up and the realization of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Creating jobs for people of all ethnic groups is vital to stability because securing income through employment is crucial to lifting poor families out of poverty. With the support of the central government and affluent provincial regions, 150 key projects are expected to be carried out in Xinjiang this year.

However, it is important that the government seeks the opinions of local people and attends to their most urgent needs, taking into consideration the real situation in the region, as it is of the utmost importance that all residents enjoy tangible benefits from development.

(China Daily 05/08/2014 page8)

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