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The Tajik ethnic minority (5)

(People's Daily)

09:50, August 11, 2011

Development after 1950

In 1954, the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County was founded on the basis of the former Puli County where the Tajik ethnic group lived in compact communities.

At the time of China¡¯s national liberation in 1949, Taxkorgan had only 27,000 animals, two per capita of the total population in the county; total grain output was 850 tons, 55 kg per capita. Since 1959, the county has been self-sufficient in grain and fodder and able to deliver a large number of animals and quantities of furs and wool to the state each year. Several hundred hectares of new pasture and grassland have been added in recent years. There was no factory or workshop in Taxkorgan before 1949, and even horseshoes had to come from other places. Now more than 10 small factories and handicraft workshops have been built, such as farm and animal husbandry machine factories, hydroelectric power stations and fur processing mills. Mechanization of farming and animal husbandry has expanded. Veterinary stations have been built in most communities. Tajiks have been trained as veterinarians and agro-technicians. Tractors are being used in more than half of the land in the county. One breed of sheep developed by the Tajik herdsmen is among the best in Xinjiang.

Taxkorgan was a backward, out-of-the-way area before 1949, when it would take a fortnight by riding a camel or a week on horseback to reach Kashi, the biggest city in southern Xinjiang. In 1958, the Kashi-Taxkorgan Highway was completed, shortening the trip between the two places to one day.

In the town of Taxkorgan, the county seat, which is perched right on top of the Pamirs, wide streets link shops, the hospital, schools, the post office, bank, bookstore, meteorological station and other new buildings in traditional architectural style and factories under construction. Great changes have also taken place in many mountain hamlets, where shops and clinics have been built. The herdsmen and peasants are enjoying good health with the improvement of living conditions and medical care. Since 1959, schools have been set up in all villages, and roaming tent schools have been run for herdsmen's children. Many young Tajiks have been trained as workers, technicians, doctors and teachers.

The Tajik people's living standards have improved considerably with the steady growth of the local economy. A growing number of herdsman households have bought radios and TV sets.

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