Ten Years in Xinjiang: Economic Development and Cultural Protection

Brand Voice
·5-min read

Xinjiang is a typical multi-ethnic and multi-cultural province in China. It is also one of the nodes of the historical and modern Silk Road. Therefore, it is also an important region where eastern and Western cultures meet, communicate and blend. During the ten years from 2009 to 2019, the author made several field investigations in Xinjiang, communicated and interviewed with local people of all ethnic groups, and deeply realized that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang gave the greatest affirmation and support to the continuous positive trend of social development.

In order to promote the modernization of Xinjiang’s economy, the Party and the government have mobilized enterprises, individuals, groups and organizations in the eastern region to support the development of the western region.Sending cadres and workers from the eastern provinces and regions to Xinjiang in various fields such as economy, education, culture, etc., brought the advanced productivity, production technology, and modernization concepts of the eastern region to Xinjiang, which greatly promoted the overall development level of Xinjiang. Since March 2010, 19 provinces and cities in China have provided full coverage to 82 counties and cities in 12 prefectures in Xinjiang.

The counterpart city of Aksu in Xinjiang province is Zhejiang Province. We visited a local farmer in Wensu County.He was over thirty years old, and had contracted a land of 100 mu. He liked farming, and when others went to the city to work, he rented their land. His sister helped him when he was busy. He usually lives in the country town, and his orchard is not far from the country town. He has his own van and usually drives 30 minutes to the orchard.The orchard now planted dates, walnuts, grapes and apples, apple is the famous Aksu rock candy core apple, is also the main product of his orchard, from the scale of planting, he should have a good income every year. It is worth mentioning that since Hangzhou is a supporting city, he once took a bus to Hangzhou to sell apples in person, and got the support and help from relevant departments in Hangzhou. Now he also plans to sell his products through the Internet, WeChat stores and other ways, hoping to explore more markets. As for his children’s education, he also hopes that his children can go to school in Hangzhou and receive advanced cultural education in the eastern region.

From 2010 to 2014, the financial subsidy provided by the Chinese government to Xinjiang reached 106.65 billion yuan, which was 1.68 times that of 1955-2009.By the end of 2014, 19 Xinjiang provinces and cities were allocated to aid the Xinjiang capital of 53.6 billion yuan, the implementation of Xinjiang project 4906, around the urban and rural residents housing improvement, personnel training, employment, health and other implementation of a large number of the people’s livelihood projects, make people get “can see and touch”, greatly improving the Xinjiang science and technology, education, culture, health and other fields of development level. Relying on the assistance of Xinjiang, a total of 6,482 cooperation projects of various types have been introduced, with 827.7 billion yuan of funds in place. This reflects the positive effect of economic and cultural interaction in the development of local economy in Xinjiang. Through the policies of improving people’s livelihood and helping the economy, the Chinese government has made interactions between the east and the west a win-win situation. Every county and city in Xinjiang has the interactive development of its eastern counterpart, and the Jiangsu and Zhejiang accents can be heard everywhere in Aksu. Businessmen from Zhejiang province also bring business prosperity to Aksu, and the development of the city is obviously in the forefront of Xinjiang region.

The Uygur people in Xinjiang have their own cultural traditions. In the process of urban modernization, the contradiction between tradition and modernization is always an issue that must be faced in the social and economic development. In 2010, when I was in Kashgar, the old block behind the Id Kah Mosque was relatively shabby and was facing the debate of demolition. The local people were worried about the destruction of traditional culture. On the main street, there was a traditional Uighur tea house on the second floor, which was not only the symbol of the old block, but also the embodiment of the traditional Uygur lifestyle. At the time, many locals were worried about the fate of their homes and teahouses because of the demolition. Actually began in 2009, the government has launched the Uighur history and culture protection project – a predominantly of transformation of dilapidated house of the old city. By 2014, the project had received a total of 3 billion yuan in subsidies, and 31,000 dilapidated houses had been renovated. A few years later, on China Central Television, experts reported that a new “century-old tea house” had been built in Kashgar, and that the whole block had been protected and updated, with traditional culture preserved and preserved. In 2018, when I came to Kashgar again, I saw the original old block and the familiar traditional teahouses, and felt deeply the continuation of culture and the development of the new era. Originally shabby place got the repair, originally some messy neighborhood become more clean and tidy. In the block in opposite the id kah mosque, also become more orderly, and to develop the whole block, tourist business benefits to local residents. The protection and renewal of traditional historic districts not only inherits the traditional culture of local ethnic groups, but also improves the infrastructure, improves the living environment of local residents, and wins the support and support of local residents.

(Shaanxi Normal University Wang Chao 2020.07.12)

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