Senior Xinjiang official discusses region's achievements, future goals
Dai Kaiyi

Editor's note: Located in northwest China, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers an area of 1.6 million square kilometers. Being the country's largest provincial-level administrative region, it is a critical strategic point in China's Belt and Road Initiative. 

CGTN's in-depth interview with Kaiser Abdukerim, Vice Chairman of  the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, highlights the promising potential of Xinjiang's economy, which matters not only to the region but also to China as a whole. Xinjiang's economy is diverse, with agriculture, animal husbandry, and infrastructure development, including transportation, telecommunications, and energy.  Furthermore, the region has enormous potential in tourism, thanks to its unique landscapes, cultural heritage, and diverse ethnic communities. Having a population of more than 25 million people, the region possesses dozens of ethnic groups, including Uygur, Han, Kazakhs and Mongols, to name just a few.  

The interview touches on the ethnic and cultural diversity of Xinjiang, which is a crucial aspect of China's multicultural society. In a nutshell, understanding Xinjiang's unique situation is crucial to comprehending China's broader cultural and economic landscape.

Xinjiang will make better use of its special position along the Belt and Road routes and vigorously stimulate the development of various businesses, said Kaiser Abdukerim, Vice Chairman of the government of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The region is aimed at GDP growth of about 7 percent for the year 2023, the official said.

Abdukerim made the remarks on March 2 in an exclusive interview with CGTN in Beijing, on the sidelines of the nation's ongoing annual political event known as the Two Sessions.

He said 2022 was an unusually significant year for Xinjiang's development. The region achieved economic growth despite the challenging and complex situation under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, and with the selfless assistance of the people across the country.

Abdukerim added that Xinjiang will actively create a good atmosphere for "state-owned enterprises to be bold, private enterprises to be daring, and foreign enterprises to be willing to invest."

Core Component of Belt and Road Initiative

"Xinjiang's important position in China's westward opening pattern is increasingly prominent," said Abdukerim. "In the future, we will drive the construction of the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt, innovate the open economic system, focus on building the Asia-Europe Golden Corridor and the bridgehead for opening up to the West."

He told CGTN that the region will optimize the opening hub of the Urumqi International Land Port Zone, enhance the opening function of the Kashgar and Horgos Economic Development Zones, promoting "larger-scale, wider-ranging, deeper-level and high-level opening up."

Contributions to Poverty Alleviation

According to the authorities' data, by the end of 2020, 3.06 million poverty-stricken rural population, 3,666 poor villages and 35 poor counties have been removed from the poverty list in Xinjiang.

Abdukerim said Xinjiang will promote the modernization of agriculture and the steady production and quality improvement of the cotton industry. The region will also strengthen the optimization and allocation of water resources and promote the construction of high-standard farmland.

He added that Xinjiang will adhere to the dual drive of science and technology and reform, and focus on stimulating the vitality, dynamism of agricultural and rural development. Furthermore, the autonomous region will accelerate the construction of a modern agricultural industrial system, consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation, and promote the construction of livable, entrepreneurial, and beautiful villages.

Tourism Industry Development

"In Xinjiang, You can see the sunset in Urumqi and then fly to the magnificent Pamir Plateau to see it again," said Abdukerim.

"It is a place where multiple religions, multiple ethnic groups, multiple cultures, and multiple civilizations coexist," he added, saying that the region is an important gateway on the ancient Silk Road, where four great civilizations met and left behind rich cultural heritage.

"With numerous world-class tourism resources, Xinjiang is a dream destination for travelers from both home and abroad."

He told CGTN that in the coming days, the region will be implementing the 'Boosting Tourism of Xinjiang' initiative. "Our aim is not only to ensure visitors have a satisfying and enjoyable stay in Xinjiang, but also to help them fall in love with our magnificent scenery and experience the warm hospitality of over 25 million people in Xinjiang," he said.

Safest Place in China

The vice chairman said the sense of security among the public in Xinjiang increased from some 87% in 2012 to over 99 percent in 2021.

"We will always adhere to the people-centered approach, deeply implement Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, and comprehensively deepen the rule of law in Xinjiang," he said, adding the region will better play the role of the rule of law in guaranteeing the fundamentals, stabilization, expectations, and benefiting the long-term.

He mentioned that in recent years, some countries have spread rumors about the so-called 'Xinjiang issue', using it as an excuse to stir up trouble and blatantly interfere in China's internal affairs.

"What I want to say is that the doors of Xinjiang are always open, and the doors of truth are always open. An old saying is that: 'Seeing is believing,'" said Abdukerim. "We hope that more people will come to beautiful Xinjiang, get closer to our more than 25 million people in Xinjiang, visit our bazaars, villages, see our way of life, hear our voices, and feel and share the real Xinjiang."

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