News / Asia

    China Seeks to Boost Development in Minority Areas

    FILE - Two ethnic Uighur men walk in a clothing market in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
    FILE - Two ethnic Uighur men walk in a clothing market in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
    Reuters
    China will boost development in ethnic minority areas and spur their industrialization, a senior Communist Party official said on Monday, in implicit recognition of the economic causes of some unrest in areas like Xinjiang.
     
    The comments by Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth most senior ruling party member who heads a largely ceremonial advisory body to parliament, came as China reeled from a deadly attack on a train station blamed on militants from Xinjiang.
     
    "We will conduct investigations and studies on ways to improve the distribution of industry in ethnic minority areas... promote faster development and spur unity and harmony in ethnic minority areas," Yu said at the opening session of the advisory body, held in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
     
    More than 100 people, including several policemen, have been killed in violence in Xinjiang, a region in China's far west with a significant Muslim population, since last April.
     
    A further 33 were killed in the Saturday attack on the station in the southwestern city of Kunming, including four of the knife-wielding assailants who were shot dead.
     
    State media reported in January that President Xi Jinping was shifting Xinjiang's focus to maintaining stability over development, after a series of attacks last year fuelled by what the government said was religious extremism.
     
    However, state media said last month that the government will pump more than $10 billion in extra funds into Xinjiang this year to improve housing and employment.
     
    Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people and strategically located on the borders of central Asia, has been beset by violence for years, blamed by the government on Islamist militants and separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
     
    Exiles and many rights groups though say the real cause of the unrest is China's heavy-handed policies including restrictions on Islam and the Uighur people's culture and language, accusations the government strongly denies.
     
    However, the government has begun to recognize the economic roots of some of the upheaval, especially underdevelopment and lack of job opportunities in heavily Uighur areas like rural southern Xinjiang, and has poured money in to rectify the problem.
     
    Yu told the more than 2,000 delegates at the meeting that religious leaders and followers had a role to play in development too.
     
    "[We will] get religious leaders and believers to play a positive role in stimulating economic and social development," he said.
     
    President Xi believes China is losing its moral compass and he wants the party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths in the hope these will help fill a vacuum created by breakneck growth and a rush to get rich, sources told Reuters last year.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora