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West China: Significant growth and development (4)
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10:47, September 17, 2009

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Social undertakings

Yun Miaoli of Mongolian nationality is an ordinary villager living in the town of Qiaobao in Saihan District, Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. She chose to marry a young man of Han nationality when she was young. Her family of four now lives in a flat that is over 100 square meters. Her two daughters have already graduated from university and teach in a university and junior high school respectively.

West China is a major concentrated region of ethnic minorities. Following 60 years of development, ethnic minority regions and all nationalities are continuing to develop and progress, and nationalities are becoming increasingly united and integrated.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was established on May 1 1947, creating a model for ethnic minority people and regions to implement a system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities, which has since become a basic political system in China and laid the foundation for the significant development of ethnic minority regions.

A great leap forward in economic development is a common characteristic of ethnic minority regions. Between 1952 and 2008, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region increased 82 times to reach 420.31 billion yuan. Inner Mongolia's fiscal revenue stood at just 690 million yuan in 1978, but this increased to 110.7 billion yuan in 2008. In 2008, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region's GDP totaled 717.2 billion yuan, an increase of nearly 120 times compared to that of 1950.

Since the 1950's, Tibet has not only significantly transformed its social system, but also has achieved a leap forward in economic development. Tibet's per capital GDP stood at only 142 yuan in 1959, but this increased to 13,861 yuan in 2008. Tibet's total population increased from 1.23 million before the peaceful liberation to the current 2.87 million. The average life expectancy of Tibetan people has increased from 35.5 years to 67 years.

Economic development has promoted the stability and unity of minority concentrated regions as well as the development of social undertakings. In minority concentrated regions, the access of people of different nationalities to education, medical treatment, and radio and television programs has continued to improve and residents are now also able enjoy a series of preferential policies.

In Tibetan ethnic minority concentrated regions in Sichuan, as of the end of 2008, the enrollment rate of school-age children in primary schools reached 98.77 percent, the comprehensive population coverage rate of nine-year compulsory education stood at 95.5 percent and the number of students living in boarding schools reached 190,000. The reconstruction and expansion of town and township organizational hospitals were completed and the comprehensive coverage rates of radio and television reached 77.4 percent and 84.6 percent respectively.

The difficulties faced by 506,500 rural residents of access to safe drinking water was resolved; the participation rate in the new rural cooperative medical care system reached 92.3 percent and a total of 1.17 million urban and rural residents were in work. There were 2.57 million ethnic minority students studying in schools at various levels and different types across Yunnan Province, an increase of 1.16 million over that of 1978 and accounting for 32 percent of the total students in Yunnan.

China attaches great importance to the cultivation and selection of ethnic minority cadres. The country has formulated a number of laws to regulate the cultivation and allocation of ethnic minority cadres, so as to give the work a legal basis. An outstanding team of ethnic minority cadres with both virtue and talent is taking shape.

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