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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More