Silk Road role bolsters Xinjiang's development

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Silk Road role bolsters Xinjiangs development(图1)
Tourists ride camels in Lop Nur People Village of Yuli county, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Oct 16, 2018. 

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which has been facing groundless accusations over so-called human rights issues cooked up by anti-China forces in recent years, has achieved quality development by taking advantage of being the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt, senior officials said.

Xinjiang used to suffer from frequent terrorist attacks, but none have taken place in the past five years, allowing it to achieve rapid economic development while maintaining social stability, Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said on Monday.

"But Xinjiang's peaceful development is the last thing anti-China forces want to see so they have chosen to constantly stir up so-called Xinjiang issues such as forced labor and sterilization to contain China's development," Jiang said during the China Xinjiang Development Forum held in Beijing.

He added that development is key to Xinjiang's long-term peace and the region can benefit greatly from taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative due to its strategic location and rich heritage left by the ancient Silk Road.

The initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

It aims to create a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

Xinjiang, which connects China with Central Asia, has come to be seen as the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Regional government spokesman Xu Guixiang said Xinjiang will work more closely with neighboring countries to boost regional security, which is essential for the initiative.

"Without peace, no country can achieve healthy development," Xu said. "Xinjiang will step up cooperation with neighboring countries in intelligence exchanges, border controls, tracking down terrorist suspects, preventing terrorist suspects from getting financial support and fighting online terrorism."

Despite anti-China forces' attempts to curb Xinjiang's development, the region has witnessed rapid economic and social development in recent years, Arken Tuniaz, acting chairman of the regional government, said.

The region's GDP has grown from 930 billion yuan ($145 billion) to 1.38 trillion yuan in the past five years, Arken said, adding that the disposable annual income of urban and rural residents more than doubled between 2010 and 2019.

"To better take part in the initiative, the region has stepped up efforts to improve connectivity," he said.

"Currently, all prefecture-level cities in Xinjiang are connected with expressways. The region also has 22 airports, while three others are under construction. Thanks to improved transportation infrastructure, the region now trades with more than 50 countries and regions."

About 88 percent of Xinjiang's foreign trade volume from 2017 to September this year was with countries taking part in the initiative, said Xia Cheng, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy.

Improved connectivity and supportive facilities have made trading with Xinjiang more cost-effective and less time-consuming, he said.

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