Xinjiang ethnic regional autonomy a success: white paper

Xinjiang's modernization and development show successful implementation of China's system of ethnic regional autonomy in the region, according to a white paper issued on Thursday.

The paper, focusing on ethnic equality, unity and development in the region, was issued by the State Council Information Office ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Implementing regional autonomy in areas in which ethnic minorities live in concentrated communities is a fundamental of China's political system. It is an appropriate way to handle ethnic issues, the white paper said.

The system accords with the situation in China and with the realities in Xinjiang, according to the paper, which also noted that Xinjiang has been the home to people of many Chinese ethnic groups since ancient times.

The system acts as "a bulwark to national unification and to the equality, unity and development of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," it claimed.


Xinjiang's economy has developed rapidly over the past six decades, accelerating the region's modernization and laying a solid foundation for improved standard of living and progress in social programs.

The region's gross regional product (GRP) increased from 1.2 billion yuan (188.1 million U.S. dollars) in 1955 to 927.3 billion yuan in 2014, a 116-fold increase in real terms while its per-capita GRP rose to 40,648 yuan in 2014 from 241 yuan in 1955, a 23-fold increase in real terms, and a 5.6-percent annual growth.

The government is working to optimize the economic structure, local infrastructure is being made more complete, and progress has been made in opening Xinjiang up to the outside world. "Xinjiang has become an information society," the white paper said.


The white paper said people of various ethnic groups in the autonomous region have benefited from the fruits of reform and development.

Since 2010, Xinjiang has stepped up efforts to improve people's living standards. Over the past six years, expenditure on improving livelihoods accounted for over 70 percent of the region's yearly public spending.

In education, schools have admitted more students, with the university and college admission rate growing from 64 percent to 79 percent, bringing Xinjiang to a similar level as the rest of the country in terms of higher education take-up.

Bilingual education has also promoted relations among ethnic groups, in addition to improving employment of ethnic minorities, according to the white paper.


Regional authorities have been working hard to strengthen rule of law and have remained resolute in punishing terrorism, in order to promote ethnic unity and achieve harmonious social development.

Citing several terrorist attacks and violent incidents in Xinjiang, including the July 5 riot in Urumqi in 2009 in which 197 people were killed, the paper said ethnic separatism, religious extremism and violent terrorism are "a great and real threat to ethnic unity and social stability in Xinjiang."


The Chinese government is fully committed to a policy of freedom of religious belief, and this policy has been implemented in Xinjiang, according to the paper.

It said Xinjiang has 24,800 religious venues, including mosques, churches, Buddhist and Taoist temples with 29,300 clerical practitioners. Most of the 10 major ethnic groups are followers of Islam, and there are a total of 24,400 mosques with 28,600 clerical personnel in Xinjiang.

While religious believers' normal requirements have been satisfied, local authorities have "strengthened management of religious affairs in accordance with the law, firmly curbing religious extremism."


The paper also highlighted the role of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and semi-military organization stationed in Xinjiang. The Corps has played a unique and irreplaceable role in maintaining social stability, quashing violent terrorist activities and safeguarding the people's security, it said.

Support from other provinces and regions has laid the foundation for Xinjiang's development. Over the past 60 years, state financial grants to Xinjiang have totaled almost 1.7 trillion yuan.

Central authorities have also been encouraging businesses to invest in Xinjiang, and helping train and provide talent for the region, according to the white paper.

Source: Xinhua