Seeking new development, Turpan looks to go green

09:01, May 07, 2010      

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The central government plans to set up a clean energy demonstration district in Turpan, Northwest China's XinjiangUyghur Autonomous Region, in a raft of new financial support measures for the region after last month's $1.5 billion investment.

"Turpan people will have a more livable environment," Liu Xinsheng, the Turpan Prefectural Party Committee Secretary, said at a ceremony Thursday to mark the project's groundbreaking. "The goal of the new Turpan is building a green and harmonious area."

The new demonstration area is located in the eastern part of the Gobi Desert, 5 kilo-meters from the central district of Turpan. The new area will make use of solar energy and ground heat to generate power, in a bid to move away from coal and other polluting power sources. The new area will total 8.8 square kilometers, and construction will be finished in three phases over the next 10 years.

The Xinjiang Autonomous Region has an area of 1.66 million square kilometers and a population of more than 20 million people.

The clean energy program, to be launched in the next year, will provide job training and education in addition to financial support. It is hoped that it will help create greater political stability in the region.

Last month, the Chinesegovernment issued plans to invest $1.5 billion into 82 cities and towns in the country's western areas, including Xinjiang, to develop local housing, employment and education.

Xinjiang has been the site of simmering unrest for a number of years. Thousands of people were injured in violent unrest that broke out in 2008 and again in July and September of last year. The government is betting that the $1.5 billion plan will help ease conflicts and ward off potential unrest.

Economic growth in Turpan in the first quarter of this year was 1.2 percent, compared with the 11.9 percent increase for the Chinese mainland on the whole over the same period.

Last month, a meeting of China's leaders, chaired by President Hu Jintao, decided to boost economic development in Xinjiang. Detailed plans are expected this month, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Source: Global Times
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