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Unparalleled "pairing assistance" program changes people's life in Xinjiang


Nov 4, 2011
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Unparalleled "pairing assistance" program changes people's life in Xinjiang​

Xinhua, October 03, 2023

URUMQI, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- In September 2022, 18-year-old Ekeramujan Tuohti from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region faced the most challenging moment of his life, asking, "Can I still keep my legs?"

He accidentally fell into a cement mixer just after graduating as a wrestler from a sports school in Kashgar, sustaining serious leg injuries.

Thanks to Pan Chunqiu, a doctor attending a medical assistance program in Xinjiang, the teenager who was on the brink of losing both legs underwent three operations and ultimately retained his left leg.

China has been implementing "pairing assistance" programs in Xinjiang since 1997, channeling financial, technical and human resource support across various sectors from different regions of the country to Xinjiang.

Official data shows that the assisting provinces and cities have invested nearly 170 billion yuan (about 23.7 billion U.S. dollars) in Xinjiang over the past decade, with 80 percent of the funds spent on improving people's lives by providing them with access to safe housing, asphalt roads, tap water, and better education and medical services.

"It was the doctors from Shanghai in the pairing assistance program who gave my son a second life," said Alitenguli Semer, whose son had a rare heart condition.

Due to limited health services back then, the family had lost all hope. Fortunately, a doctor from Shanghai named Feng Liang worked out a diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient.

Feng was in a pairing assistance program in Xinjiang and facilitated an online consultation involving doctors from Shanghai and Xinjiang.

In August 2017, Alitenguli Semer's son underwent a successful operation in Shanghai, and today, he lives a life no different from that of any normal child.

The assistance initiative has greatly improved the well-being of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and has made great contributions to the eradication of absolute poverty.

With continuous support, Xinjiang has accelerated its high-quality economic development. Over the past decade, the regional GDP has doubled, reaching 1.7 trillion yuan in 2022, while growing at an annual average of 6.6 percent. Its industrial structure has been continuously optimized, and the region now has a modern industrial system led by the petrochemical, electric power and textile industries.

Over the past decade, 21,000 officials and over 90,000 professionals from sectors including education, science and technology and medical care signed up for the program to support Xinjiang's development.

Sun Lei, a teacher from Beijing, is now in her fourth year of an educational assistance program in Xinjiang. Instead of returning to the bustling metropolis, she later welcomed her husband, who also volunteered to join her in this Xinjiang mission.

"We cultivate the talents that Xinjiang requires," said Sun, who signed up for the program to support Xinjiang's educational cause in 2019, even though her twin daughters were just four months old at the time.

Sun is a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, while in Xinjiang she works at the China University of Petroleum -- Beijing at Karamay (CPUBK). Her responsibilities include developing the school's Russian language major, advancing its philosophy and social science disciplines, and providing assistance in the establishment of a research institute.

"In theory, I could have returned to Beijing after a year or even six months," Sun said, noting that she instead chose to continue working in Xinjiang to contribute to its betterment.

CPUBK is a relatively new institution. When the Russian language major was in its infancy, there were only four young teachers to handle the entire curriculum, with each teacher having a workload exceeding 400 teaching hours per year.

Sun and her team undertook the task of recruiting teaching staff and establishing workshops aimed at enhancing teaching and research skills. Additionally, she initiated a mentorship program that pairs younger teachers with experienced mentors to help enhance their teaching capabilities.

"There is still much work to be done here. I can't leave, and I don't want to leave," Sun said. "That's why I extended my program for another year."

Over the years, tens of thousands of outstanding teachers, like Sun, have volunteered to help boost the quality of education in Xinjiang, making significant contributions to the region's educational development.

"Students need me, Xinjiang needs me, and I take pride in the fact that my life's value can be better realized here," Sun said.

While based on western media reports those poverty alleviation and pairing up officials and professionals are sent to Uyghur homes to sleep with Uyghur women


Unparalleled pairing assistance program changes people's life in Xinjiang

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