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Graduates lured to Xinjiang to realize dreams

By Xinhua writers Li Laifang, Zhang Hongchi and Pan Yin (Xinhua)

12:43, June 10, 2013

URUMQI, June 10 (Xinhua) -- With China expecting a record 6.99 million students to graduate from college this summer, hopes are high that many of them can be attracted to work in the country's less-developed west.

Recent years have seen a number of government initiatives boosting the region by persuading young professionals of the solid career paths that lie here, as alternatives to settling in crowded coastal cities. One stand-out example can be found in a special administration entity that hit the headlines in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region this week.

Thursday's mass wedding ceremony for 50 local young couples in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps' (XPCC) headquarters in Urumqi was designed to showcase the prosperous lives that most of them have forged working for the organization.

The XPCC was established in 1954, when the central government decided to form most military troops in Xinjiang into a production and construction corps, which shoulders the dual task of production and security.

It has benefited from a national program launched in 2003 to recruit college graduates to work for one to three years in 12 western provinces or regions. Among the 3,300 who completed their service periods with the XPCC, 1,100 have chosen to continue their employment.


It's clearly doing something right in retaining staff in this oft-overlooked area, and Yu Chao and Lu Qianqian have experienced that first hand.

Both from east China's Shandong Province, they were among the 50 couples involved in the wedding ceremony on Thursday. After graduating from Yantai University in Shandong in 2010, they came to Xinjiang and have been working at Toutunhe Farm belonging to the 12th Division of the XPCC ever since. Yu is in charge of Communist Youth League affairs while Lu teaches in a kindergarten.

"I love this place where we can bring our talent into play," says Yu.

"Xinjiang boasts beautiful scenery and the locals are frank and great-hearted. I feel happy to do what I like to do in such a lovable region," adds his wife, Lu.

Yan Fenfen is another won over by employment in western China after coming to Xinjiang three years ago, with her husband Ma Quanhui.

It was a tough choice but has proved worthwhile. They have purchased a car and an apartment with a floor area of 120 square meters. If they had lived in Beijing, they would have had great difficulty achieving such a moderate well-off life.

Yan and Ma took up jobs in Alaer City in the south of Xinjiang in July 2010, when Yan graduated from the Agricultural University of Hebei in north China's Hebei Province, and Ma was a company salesman in Beijing.

The young couple's decision to join remote Alaer's population of 240,000 was partly because of intense competition elsewhere in China's job market and the XPCC's offer of an annual salary of no less than 80,000 yuan (about 12,987 U.S. dollars) per person. More importantly, they could bring into full play what they had learned at university.

Currently, they are in charge of cultivating fruit saplings, and undertaking scientific research within the Tenth Regiment of the XPCC's First Division.

"With dreams, opportunities and diligence, all beautiful life can be created. The Corps is the place where my dream comes true," according to Yan. They have built a 600-square-meter greenhouse for cultivation and made significant progress in promoting soilless cultivation of strawberry.

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