TIANSHANNET   ›   Xinjiang Today   ›   Xinjiang Regions

Overview of Aksu Prefecture

Aksu is a bright pearl shining on the ancient Silk Road,with pure and honest people, rich products, prosperous historical and cultural heritage. It is honored with the names of “the Yangtze River Delta outside the Great Wall”, “Country of fish and grains”, “Country of melons and fruits”, and “Country of dance and song”.

Aksu’s administrative divisions: Aksu, which means “clear water” in Uygur, covers a total area of 131,300 square kilometers with 7 counties, 2 cities, 89 towns, 13 district management committees and 9 sub-committees. Aksu has 3.09 million resident population with 36 ethnic groups, including Han, Uygur, Hui, Kazakh.

Aksu has a unique location. Located at the southern foot of the Tianshan Mountains and the northern margin of the Tarim Basin, Aksu is located in the central part of southern Xinjiang, bordering Bayangolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture to the east, neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to the west with a border line totaling 263.8 km. It adjoins to Hotan Prefecture, Kashgar Prefecture, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture in the south, and neighbors Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture to the north with the Tianshan Mountains as watershed; it is the nodal point of communicating the north and south of the Tianshan Mountains.

Aksu enjoys a long history. In history, Aksu once served as a major courier station along the ancient Silk Road. In 60 BC, the central government of the Western Han Dynasty set up the Western Regions Frontier Command, thus, several city states including Qiuci, Kumo and Onsu were formally incorporated into the territory of China and became an inseparable part of the great motherland. The central government of the Tang Dynasty set up the Grand Anxi Frontier Command, to administer the Western Regions of 36 states, Qiuci, KuMo, OnSu were all within Aksu’s territory. In 1758, the Qing government set up a Counselor Minister, who gave name "Aksu".

Aksu features prosperous cultures. The Four Great Ancient Civilizations meet here, the eastern and western cultures interact here, the cultures of all nationalities are rooted in the fertile soil of Chinese civilization. Cultural relics are all over here, such as the grottoes art of the Jin and Tang dynasties, the stone paintings and ancient tombs of the primitive times, the bacon towers of the Han and Tang dynasties, ancient city ruins and Buddhist ruins, etc.. Folk songs and dances are rich and colorful, to name a few, Qiuci music, Dolan dance, Sanam, Meshrep, plate dance; Xinjiang dialect, Shaanxi Opera and Sichuan cultures, as well as Suzhou soft dialect, converge into a variety of customs. Regional culture and art has unique charm, demonstrated by public performances in many places of the large-scale musical dances of “the Flower of Dolan” and “Qiuci 1001”, which are popular with people of all ethnic groups.

Aksu embraces beautiful scenery. The great Tomur Snow Peak straights up into the sky; the Tarim River, the longest inland river in China, crosses through the region; the Taklimakan Desert, known as“the Sea of Death”, is vast and mysterious; the South Tianchi in Kuqa, under the glow of snow peaks, presents an exquisite scenery; the world’s biggest primitive populus euphratica forest is famous for “a thousand years of immortality”; the Tomur Grand Canyon, regarded as “a living geologic textbook”, is wondrous and treacherous; the Tianshan Tree Park is unimaginable and marvelous. Mountains, deserts, canyons, rivers and grasslands have attracted a large number of tourists from home and abroad to visit Aksu. In 2020, 15.016 million tourists from home and abroad were received, an increase of 20.1%, and the total tourism consumption was 8.18 billion yuan, an increase of 10.1%.

Aksu develops prosperously. Aksu vigorously implements the "76331" strategy ("7" is to build areas of unity, harmony and peace, advanced culture leading, energy industry agglomeration, characteristic agricultural advantage, people's livelihood pilot construction, ecological conservation demonstration, integrated development innovation; "6" is the promotion of energy chemical industry, textile and clothing, agricultural and sideline products processing, building materials and metallurgy, equipment manufacturing, strategic emerging industrial clusters; the first "3" is to cultivate regional transportation hub center, commerce and logistics center, cultural tourism center; the second "3" is the construction of important sectors taking the Silk Road Economic Belt Core Area as the center, to create regional innovation and entrepreneurship highlands, education talent highlands, health care highlands; "1" is to focus on the philosophy of “Park City” that is suitable for living and economic activities, to speed up the development of a regional central city binding Aksu and Onsu as one), and strives to build peace, harmony, prosperity, beautiful Aksu. In 2020, a regional gross domestic product of 131.505 billion yuan has been achieved, an increase of 5.9% over the previous year at comparable prices, which ranks first in Xinjiang. The fixed assets investment increased by 17.7 per cent in all sectors of society, the general public budget revenue reached 12.16 billion yuan, an increase of 5.1 per cent, the retail sales of consumer goods totaled 28.564 billion yuan, an increase of 1.2 per cent; the per capita disposable income of urban residents is 33239 yuan, an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous year; the per capita disposable income of rural residents is 14588 yuan, an increase of 10.3% over the previous year; the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen is 14920 yuan, increase of 8.5 per cent.

Aksu has made progress in improving people’s livelihood. In 2020, Aksu continued to adhere to the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation, 65,408 impoverished households altogether 246575 people have shaken off poverty, 269 impoverished villages have been deregistered, 2 poverty-stricken counties, namely Wushi County and Kalpin County, have been lifted out of poverty. Local governments have been constantly consolidating and improving the achievements of poverty alleviation, and will resolutely help people stay out of poverty.

Aksu’s education develops vigorously. Aksu has fully achieved the goal of “ two basics” (basically make all students have access to the nine-year compulsory education and basically eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people). In 2020, the whole prefecture has 1858 schools, among them, there are 2 regular institutions of higher education (Xinjiang Institute of Technology and Aksu Vocational and Technical College), 2 institutes for adult (Aksu Institute of Education, Aksu TV and Radio University). The ranks of teachers and students are growing, with 43,135 teachers, among them, 1079 full-time teachers in institutions of higher learning, 13821 full-time teachers in general secondary schools, and 18435 general primary school full-time teachers; with 711760 students, among them, 28752 students in institutions of higher learning, 178039 students in general secondary schools, 324717 pupils in general primary schools.

Aksu’s healthcare is keep improving. As the proceeding of medical system’s reform, The medical service capacity and service level in Aksu Prefecture are keep developing. By so far, there are 1592 medical and health institutions, with 57 hospitals, 42 polyclinic hospitals, 2 traditional Chinese medicine hospitals, 8 Uygur medicine hospitals, 5 specialist hospitals, 10 maternal and child health hospitals, 11 centers for disease control and prevention, 10 health supervision offices, 1 blood collection institution, 95 township health centers, 1091 village clinics. The whole prefecture has 271 institutions that support Chinese and ethnic medicine service, has 76 individual Chinese medicine clinics and 73 township(town) health centers with 13897 Chinese medicine and health technicians, 4399 practising (assistant) physicians, 5794 registered nurses, 267 general practitioners and 2149 village doctors. Aksu has 12603 authorized beds, 15409 actual number of open beds, among them, 650 are from Traditional Chinese Medicine hospitals and 680 are opened; 1740 authorized beds from Uygur hospitals, of which 2175 are opened, 519 beds are from maternal and child health hospitals, of which 391 are opened, and 2607 beds are from township health center. 11736 cases of TCM diagnosis and treatment have been made at community health service center, 451635 cases at township health center and 399411 cases at village clinics. The number of Chinese medicine health management services for the elderly aged 65 and above is 116000 and for children aged 0-3 is 42667.