China pools resources to help Xinjiang achieve moderate prosperity
-- In 2010, China launched a new round of "pairing assistance" program in Xinjiang, involving central and state organs, centrally administered state-owned enterprises, and 19 provinces and municipalities.
-- The scale and continuity of the program have served as a testament to China's ability to "concentrate resources to solve major problems," which is a notable advantage of China's socialist system that has helped the country overcome major challenges over the past several decades.
-- Assistance from outside Xinjiang has played a significant role in its victory over absolute poverty, which paved the way for the region to achieve moderate prosperity in all respects together with the rest of the country this year.
URUMQI -- In Kunyu, a newly-built city on the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China, Yu Lijuan is the only pediatrician in town.
Yu was sent by the Beijing municipality to work in the city in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region under a "pairing assistance" program through which financial, technical and talent support in various fields have been channeled to Xinjiang from other regions of China.
"As kindergartens and schools have been built in Kunyu, there is a growing demand for pediatricians," said Yu, who works in Kunyu People's Hospital, the city's first general hospital established in 2018 with a 70-million-yuan (about 10.79 million U.S. dollars) investment from the Beijing municipality.
Despite the harsh working conditions near the vast desert, Yu is determined to pass on her expertise to local doctors. "My goal is to help build a sound pediatric department so that children here can have easier access to medical care," Yu said.
Doctor Yu Lijuan, who was sent by the Beijing municipality to work in Kunyu, diagnoses a boy patient at the Kunyu people's hospital in Kunyu City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 16, 2021. [Photo by He Dan/Xinhua]
China has been implementing the "pairing assistance" program in Xinjiang since 1997. In 2010, a new round of pairing assistance was launched, involving central and state organs, centrally administered state-owned enterprises, and 19 provinces and municipalities.
The scale and continuity of the program have served as a testament to China's ability to "concentrate resources to solve major problems" -- as the Chinese often describe it. This is a notable advantage of China's socialist system that has helped the country overcome major challenges over the past several decades.
Data show that more than 80 percent of aid funds since 2010 were invested in areas related to people's wellbeing, such as healthcare, education and employment, to help address the most pressing needs of the local people.
By the end of 2020, Xinjiang had lifted over 3 million rural residents living under the current poverty line out of impoverishment, bringing an end to absolute poverty -- once and for all -- that had shackled the region for thousands of years. The feat paved the way for Xinjiang to achieve moderate prosperity in all respects together with the rest of the country this year.
In Xinjiang's battle against poverty, assistance from outside the region has played a significant role. Since 2019, state-owned enterprises, and 19 provinces and municipalities have invested a total of over 315 billion yuan in Xinjiang.
A director (R) of a garment company, who gets capital support from south China's Guangdong Province, talks with her employee on the details of livestreaming to promote sales in Payzawat County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 11, 2021. [Xinhua/Ding Lei]
Sadikhjan Tash, the owner of a small oil extraction plant in Shufu County in Kashgar Prefecture, was a direct beneficiary of the "pairing assistance" program.
Last year, he and 17 other people received a total investment of 5.4 million yuan from Guangdong Province, and the ensuing business growth is expected to help lift the local people out of poverty.
With the capital and the technical support, Tash quickly expanded the production capacity of his plant and soon opened a new one. Currently, he has 48 employees, 70 percent of whom used to be registered poor people.
"All my employees have shaken off poverty and are now living a good life," said Tash. Guangdong's investment also paid off, helping lift more than 2,000 local people out of poverty.
Members of a female football team set up with the support of south China's Guangdong Province pose for photo in Payzawat County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 24, 2021. [Photo by Yang Hao/Xinhua]
While facilitating financial, technical and talent support to Xinjiang, the "pairing assistance" program has also helped forge a closer tie between people in Xinjiang and those outside the region, thanks to various activities on cultural, sports and people-to-people exchange, such as summer camps, homestays and soccer training camps.
In late 2018, cadres from east China's Jiangsu Province, who have been tasked with assisting the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili in Xinjiang, launched a pen friends program for teenagers of the two places with the help of local authorities.
Corresponding with a friend thousands of miles away came as a new experience for many teenagers growing up in the digital age. "Though I have never been there, your descriptions have given me a vivid experience," Ayiman, a student in the border city of Horgos in Xinjiang, wrote to her pen friend in Jiangsu's Lianyungang City.
"When I have the chance, I will definitely travel across the country to see it myself. Don't forget to be my tour guide!" Ayiman wrote.
Reporting by He Jun, Li Zhihao, Zhang Yan, Ding Lei; Video reporter: Ding Lei; Video editor: Hong Ling