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Role of Xinjiang Production, Construction Corps important: white paper

  BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhuanet) -- The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) has played a very important role in accelerating local economic development, promoting unity among ethnic groups, maintaining social stability, consolidating border defense and shoring up the unification of the motherland, said a government white paper.

  The white paper, titled History and Development of Xinjiang, was issued by the Information Office of China's State Council Monday.

  The XPCC was established against a special historical background in 1949 when Xinjiang was peacefully liberated, says the white paper.

  To consolidate border defense, accelerate Xinjiang's development, and reduce the economic burden on local governments and the local people of all ethnic groups, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) units stationed in Xinjiang focused their efforts on production and construction, starting large-scale production and construction projects.

  In October 1954, the central government ordered most of the PLAunits in Xinjiang transferred to local civilian work. Separated from the setups of national defense forces, the military units formed a production and construction corps, whose missions were tocarry out both production and militia duties, and cultivate and guard border areas.

  Also known as the China Xinjian Group, the XPCC has 14 divisions (reclamation areas), 174 regimental agricultural and stockbreeding farms, 4,391 industrial, construction, transport andcommercial enterprises, and well-run social undertakings covering scientific research, education, culture, health, sports, finance and insurance, as well as judiciary organs.

  With a total population of 2,453,600, including 933,000 workers,the XPCC is subordinated to the dual leadership of the central government and the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

  The white paper says China has a centuries-old tradition of developing and protecting its border areas by stationing troops tocultivate and guard the frontier areas.

  The beginning of this practice by the central authorities on a massive scale in Xinjiang can be traced back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), to be subsequently carried on from generation to generation.

  The establishment of the XPCC represents a continuation and development of this historical experience in the new historical conditions, says the white paper.

  During its early days, following the principle of "not competing for benefits with the local people," the XPCC built water conservancy works and reclaimed wasteland along the north and south edges of the Tianshan Mountains and along the borders, where the natural environments were adverse.

  Starting by processing agricultural and sideline products, the XPCC developed modern industry and gradually formed a multi-sectorindustrial system. By the end of 1966, all its undertakings had developed to a rather high level.

  The XPCC was revived by the central government in 1981 after previously dissolved in 1975, says the white paper, noting that itreaped a GDP that accounted for 13.2 percent of the autonomous region's total in 2001.

  In the past several decades, while paying taxes to local governments as required by law, the XPCC had sent batches of technicians and pooled funds to actively aided the construction oflocal areas.

  As an effort to support the industrial development in Xinjiang, the XPCC has transferred gratis a batch of large, well-developed industrial, transportation, construction and commercial enterprises to the local areas, which have since made great contributions to the modernization efforts of Xinjiang, the white paper says.

  During the process of cultivating and guarding the border areas,the XPCC has established a close relationship with local governments, according to the white paper.

  The XPCC conscientiously accepts the leadership of the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, abides by the rules and regulations of the government, respects the customs and religious beliefs of ethnic minorities, strives to do practical things in the interest of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and endeavors to develop a blending type of economy.

  In this way, the XPCC has forged flesh-and-blood ties with the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and attained the aim of joint frontier defense, sharing of resources, mutual complementarity and common prosperity.

  As an important force for stability in Xinjiang and for consolidating frontier defense, the XPCC adheres to the principle of attaching equal importance to production and militia duties.

  It has set up in frontier areas a "four-in-one" system of jointdefense that links the PLA, the Armed Police, the XPCC and the ordinary people, playing an irreplaceable special role in the pastfive decades in smashing and resisting internal and external separatists' attempts at sabotage and infiltration, and in maintaining the stability and safety of the borders of the motherland, the white paper says.

  During its long years of development, the XPCC has become a mosaic of people from 37 ethnic groups, including the Han, Uygur, Kazak, Hui and Mongolian. In the reclamation areas live Muslims, Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics. The population of Muslims isover 250,000.

  Carrying out the central government's policies toward ethnic groups and religions in an all-round way, the XPCC handles religious affairs in accordance with the law, and has become a large, united, multi-ethnic family, according to the white paper. Enditem