Western regional development is the major strategic plan of the Central Committee of the Party and the State Council; as well as the long-awaited program for people of all ethnic groups in western regions. As the pioneer of western regional development, how will the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps meet new challenges? Recently we had an interview with Zhang Qingli, commander of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Reporter: How do you assess the status, advantages, and roles of the Corps in the development of the western region?
Zhang Qingli: As an important part and major force in the development of the western region, the Corps has very unique advantages and plays a special role.
First, as it spans the whole of Xinjiang, the Corps has unique location advantages.
Second, over the past 45 years, the Corps has accumulated much experience to contribute to the development of the western region.
Third, the Corps is abundant in talent; has a strong technological background; and has the ability to engage in large-scale production. In addition, since most of the farms are located in remote areas along the border – in desert and mountain areas – the Corps can develop the local economy without interfering with the benefits of others.
Fourth, it is particularly commendable that after 45 years of efforts, the Corps has developed a strong reclamation team that is devoted to the Corps and the border; and dedicated to the construction of the border.
Therefore, western regional development will give full play to the Corps in promoting economic development, national unity, and social stability; and in establishing a border defense.
Reporter: Do you have any new ideas and targets for the development of the western region?
Zhang: We have figured out four entry points, according to geopolitical features and development advantages of the Corps:
First, to focus on water-saving projects on an area of 400 mu farmland;
Second, to carry out border image projects that would improve the living conditions and infrastructure of the 58 Corps farms along the border;
Third, to implement “white, green, and red” projects: “white” referring to establishing the base for exporting 400,000 tons of cotton, and upgrading the production technology of 300,000 spindles; “green” refers to establishing a green base to produce 500,000 tons of high-quality pears; “red” refers to the food industry project to produce 500,000 tons of tomato sauce;
The last is to accelerate the urbanization of reclamation areas – to establish small towns in the areas near traffic lines, border cities, and farms, in a planned way, so as to set up an urban system adaptable to the oasis economy.