China launches Xinjiang rejuvenation drive

08:20, May 21, 2010      

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In a prompt effort to avoid ethnic problems from growing to outright strife, China's Central Government convened a three-day meeting in Beijing, meting out a package of favorable policies and perhaps tens of millions yuan of new investment to upgrade western Xinjiang.

A massive support package that includes preferential tax and resource usage policies will help the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region catch up with the average national per capita GDP in 5 years, said a Xinhua News Agency report yesterday.

"Marked improvement" must be achieved in Xinjiang's infrastructure, development capacity, ethnic unity and social stability situations within five years, President Hu Jintao told the conference.

The Chinese President said Xinjiang has a "particularly significant strategic position" in the country.

Xinjiang should fulfill the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2020 through co-ordinated regional development, Hu said, adding the region should improve people's living standards and build an eco-friendly environment, in addition to building up ethnic unity and social security.

Rapid Growth of Xinjiang Expected

The package was released after a three-day working conference in Beijing that began on Monday. This is the first time the central government has held a top-level development conference for the region since the founding of New China in 1949.

President Hu vowed to spend more to improve the region's public services by implementing major projects to provide local people with a "modern and civilized" living environment.

Also, Hu vowed to maintain social stability and achieve fast-track development at the same time.
The July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the region, left 197 dead and at least 1,700 injured last year.
More favorable policies are necessary to boost economic and social development in the region, said Premier Wen Jiabao.

Therefore, the central government has decided to start pilot reforms on resource taxation in Xinjiang, in which the tax will be levied based on prices instead of quantity. The change is expected to significantly increase tax revenue for the regional government.

And, commercial and foreign financial organizations are encouraged to open branches and do business in Xinjiang. Also, enterprises in poor areas will have corporate income tax waived or reduced.

Prior to the conference, Beijing has nominated 19 relatively-prosperous provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Shanghai and Guangdong, to partner and provide assistance to designated areas in Xinjiang.

All these policies show the resolve of the central government and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to speed up Xinjiang's development, Premier Wen said.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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