Xinjiang displays growth, vows counter-terrorism strike

Northwest China’s Xinjiang on Saturday showcased its double-digit economic growth but also vowed to take preemptive action against separatists to maintain social stability.

An upcoming release of key figures on the development of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 2012 is expected to show that the area’s GPD grew by 12 percent year on year and its registered urban unemployment rate stayed below 3.4 percent, said Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government.

“The disposable income of Xinjiang’s urban residents is expected to have grown by 17 percent to reach over 18,000 yuan (around 2,800 U.S. dollars) in 2012 while the growth in total income for their rural counterparts is forecast to stand at 18.4 percent to reach over 6,400 yuan,” the official told the opening session of Xinjiang’s People’s Congress, the regional legislature.

He also said the autonomous region aims to double the per capita income of its urban and rural residents by 2015 on the basis of the 2010 level.

“We will strive to accelerate the socioeconomic development of Xinjiang, especially its southern part,” said Nur Bekri as he delivered a government work report in the Uygur language.

Southern Xinjiang is densely populated by people of China’s minority ethnic groups, mainly the Uygur.

Nur Bekri said that the government’s work over the past year was focused on achieving Xinjiang’s leapfrog development and lasting stability, two “historic tasks” mapped out in 2010, by a high-level national central work conference.

The conference came one year after Xinjiang’s most deadly unrest in decades, saw 197 people killed and about 1,700 others injured in the regional capital of Urumqi.

Authorities blamed separatists and extremists for inciting the violence in the autonomous region, which is vulnerable to unrest and terrorist threats. Many believed that poverty and income disparity were also causes.

Nur Bekri told the congress’ gathering of over 500 delegates, over 43 percent of whom are Uygur people, that work to maintain Xinjiang’s stability was carried out on a regular, scientific and legal basis last year.

“People’s sense of safety and satisfaction have been further enhanced,” he said.

However, the battle against the separatists is still severe, complicated and chronic, warned the leader of Xinjiang, which covers one-sixth of China’s landmass but still lags behind economically.

Nur Bekri vowed at the session to nip terrorist activity in the bud.

“We will annihilate the violent and terrorist activities while they are still being planned and before they are put into action,” he said.

The agenda for the six-day session of the Congress includes the election of a new chairman of the regional government and the approval of the government work report.


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