Senior Chinese official Jia Qinglin has called for the accelerated development of minority ethnic groups.
Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), stressed that the government should adopt more efficient policies and measures to step up economic and social development of ethnic minorities and minority areas.
He said the economically developed regions would help the less developed areas inhabited by minority ethnic groups.
Jia also urged the minority regions to accelerate the development of local resources and industry including animal husbandry, tourism and mining industry and open up wider to the outside world.
He asked the regions to improve environmental protection, while further developing education, public health, culture, and science and technology.
China has 56 ethnic groups, with 123 million ethnic minority people - 9.4 percent of the 1.3 billion population.
Since China launched its reform and opening up drive, minority ethnic groups have witnessed quicker economic and social development and the living standards of the minority people have improved remarkably.
However, owing to historic and natural factors, some of the areas still lag behind in economic and social development and there are still large gaps between different ethnic groups and different minority areas.