Future assistance projects to help develop the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region must focus on poverty alleviation and help local people find jobs nearby, the nation’s top political adviser said during a recently concluded three-day conference in the region.
The central government implemented a new round of a “pairing assistance” program for Xinjiang in 2011, which requires 19 provinces and municipalities as well as ministries to support the development of different parts of the region.
The priority for assistance providers is to ensure that the areas within their responsibility achieve their poverty alleviation goals on time.
They also need to help Xinjiang develop labor-intensive industries so more low-income people can find jobs near their homes, said Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Yu, also head of the Central Leading Group on Xinjiang Works, spoke during the 6th National Work Conference on pairing assistance projects for Xinjiang.
He also emphasized the importance of improving the quality of education. The conference was held in Kashgar, Xinjiang, from Sunday to Tuesday.
The regional government thinks that poverty and poor education have contributed to the spread of extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang. The central government has put maintaining social stability as the region’s top priority.
The pairing projects must help resolve the fundamental, long-term problems that affect the region’s development and stability, Yu said.
Yu said pairing assistance has played an important role in Xinjiang’s development.
Each province or municipality in the program is assigned specific cities or counties to assist by sending officials and experts in different fields. The central government also requires the pairing partners to invest a certain percentage of their annual GDP in Xinjiang.
Central government officials have taken the provider’s expertise into account. It paired Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China’s first and most successful special economic zone, with Kashgar, a city with a new special zone that is to serve as a trade hub connecting Central Asian countries on the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Tianjin has invested over 3 billion yuan ($441.1 million) and sent 940 officials to three counties in Hotan prefecture since 2011, said Li Shuqi, deputy mayor of the municipality, who attended the conference.
The city has built 15 schools and kindergartens in Hotan. It also will allocate more funds to help local people climb out of poverty, he added.