Approved by the State Council, three new cities were officially established Monday noon in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The county-level cities of Tumushuke, Alar and Wujiaqu are under the jurisdiction of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which was organized in 1954 to strengthen the country's northwestern frontier and promote local economic development.
The establishment of the three cities is a remarkable event which will help boost the region's economy and social stability, said Ma Dazheng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Tumushuke City is located on the southern slope of Tianshan Mountains and northwestern rim of Tarim Basin. It used to be an important pass from China to the Middle East and Middle Asia. The central government at that time began to station garrison there in75 AD. Ancient relics can still be found.
Tumushuke covers 1,900 square km and has a population of 113,500 people of various ethnic groups.
"Alar" means "green island" in the Uygur language. It is located at the northern rim of Taklimakan Desert and the upper reaches of Tarim River. Covering 4,196 square km with 168,000 residents, Alar is a booming town and China's largest long-fluff cotton production base.
Wujiaqu City is located on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, on the southern rim of the Junggar Basin, about 35 km away from Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi. It has a land area of 743 square km with 107,000 people living there.