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China’s top political adviser Wang Huning urges support for Xinjiang in education, culture and industry

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China’s top political adviser Wang Huning urges support for Xinjiang in education, culture and industry

  • Wang Huning stresses role of programme – criticised by US – that pairs coastal areas with cities in far western region for investment and exchanges
  • He also highlights need for social stability and ‘strong sense of community of the Chinese nation’
Published: 5:35pm, 22 Sep, 2023

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Wang Huning (centre), head of China’s top advisory body, says there should be more communication between different ethnic groups in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Photo: Xinhua
ChinaPolitics

China’s top political adviser called for more support for the western region of Xinjiang in education, cultural exchanges and cooperation between local cadres and officials from other parts of the country, state media reported on Friday.

Wang Huning, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body, and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top advisory body, made the remarks at a biennial work conference on Wednesday, according to official news agency Xinhua.

Wang called for efforts to develop the industrial, education and cultural sectors in the region as well as promote personnel exchanges and improve interactions among different ethnic groups.

Wang called for efforts to develop the industrial, education and cultural sectors in the region as well as promote personnel exchanges and improve interactions among different ethnic groups.

He also stressed the importance of “pairing assistance”, referring to a nearly 25-year-old national strategy in which China’s coastal provinces and municipalities are paired with cities and counties in Xinjiang to send investment and personnel directly to the region.

In recent years, the programme has come under strong criticism by the US government, which has imposed tough sanctions amid allegations of unfair government subsidies and labour abuses.

China’s top political adviser Wang Huning urges support for Xinjiang in education, culture and industry | South China Morning Post

Wang said there must be a focus on social stability and long-term security in Xinjiang, as well as “fostering a strong sense of community of the Chinese nation”.

He called for helping Xinjiang in industries that could boost employment and show the region’s characteristics and advantages. Wang added that there should be more communication among cadres and between different ethnic groups.

Jiang Zhaoyong, an independent Beijing-based Xinjiang specialist, noted the focus of the biennial work conferences on Xinjiang tended to shift based on the needs of local communities.

For example, there had previously been investment in hospitals and other infrastructure, while more recently universities in major Chinese cities had worked with rural communities in Xinjiang to develop projects such as seawater aquafarming, Jiang said.

In recent weeks, state media have boasted about “seafood” from the landlocked region. Xinjiang has started experimenting with seawater aquafarming – including freshwater fish, king prawn, abalone and lobsters – in an effort to achieve technological breakthroughs in agriculture and food security.

Jiang said the shifts in focus were necessary because companies in major cities did not always know what rural Xinjiang communities needed for development.

In March, Wang made a three-day inspection trip to Xinjiang, visiting the regional capital Urumqi, the far western city of Kashgar, as well as several rural communities, schools, mosques and businesses.

While there, he said Xinjiang’s social stability was “hard-earned” and officials should continue to unite people and “solidify the correct historical view of the Chinese nation”.

 
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