Xinjiang, Terrorism and Silk Road Economic Belt


Xinjiang’s economy is developing with each passing day. With the great support of the Central Government, Xinjiang has completed a number of infrastructural and basic industrial projects significant to its overall and long-term development in recent years along China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Because of CPEC, Xinjiang’s industrial economy rapidly grows up, presenting an obviously optimized economic structure with agriculture as the basis, industry as the dominant force and service with the biggest share. Because of CPEC, with the start and completion of a number of transport, water conservancy, energy and telecommunication projects, the infrastructure and production as well as living conditions of urban and rural residents of Xinjiang are experiencing historic changes. By the end of 2018, Xinjiang had a railway mileage of 5,959km, expressway access to all its prefectures and cities, highway accesses to 99.74% of its administrative villages, 21 civil airports and opened subways in Urumqi, the 2nd subway city in northwestern China which initiates CPEC route up to Gwadar. So far, Xinjiang has set up a transport network integrating aviation, railway (high-speed railway, subway) and highway transport to speed up momentum of CPEC.
Again because of CPEC in Xinjiang people’s living conditions have remarkably improved and a number of major welfare programs have been actively launched. People of various ethnic groups of Xinjiang have made a quantum jump toward a moderately prosperous society with people across China. The per capita annual incomes of Xinjiang’s urban and rural residents were increased from 319 Yuan and 119 Yuan in 1979 to 32,764 Yuan and 11975 Yuan in 2018, respectively and it is all because of CPEC. Above 70% of its public budget expenditure was spent on securing and improving livelihood. Xinjiang has carried out the policies of dynamically guaranteeing job offers to zero-employment families, free physical examination for all citizens, free three-year pre-school education in rural areas, affordable housing in rural areas and settlement of herdsmen, severe illness insurance and minimum living allowance for urban and rural residents, to enable people of various ethnic groups to have greater sense of gains, happiness and security.
In Xinjiang freedom of religious belief is respected and protected under Chinese Constitution. We have unswervingly insisted on the correct path with Chinese characteristics for solving ethnic problems, fully implemented the system of regional ethnic autonomy, carried out the Party’s ethnic and religious policies, cultivated a number of outstanding ethnic cadres, safeguarded the rights of various ethnic groups to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, respected and protected normal religious activities, respected customs and habits of various ethnic groups, developed and consolidated the new-type socialist ethnic relationship featuring equality, solidity, mutual aid and harmony. Xinjiang has unremittingly rolled out ethnic solidity and progress activities, promulgated and implemented the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the Work of Ethnic Unity and Progress, carried forward ethnic unity as a family and other ethnic unity activities. Ethnic exchanges, communication and fusion are vigorously promoted through various channels and forms. People of various ethnic groups live, learn and work together to live in amity, defeat difficulty and develop in harmony, and unite together like pomegranate seeds firmly curbing the religious extremism according to laws. Lots of facts prove that religious extremism has become a real threat to jeopardize regional and even global peace, regional stability and the life and property safety of the people. Containing the religious extremism according to laws is a just action to safeguard the fundamental interests of the country and the people of various ethnic groups and an important part of international community’s actions toward religious extremism. While insisting on the freedom of religious belief and protecting the normal religious activities of citizens, Xinjiang has worked hard to combat extremism, promoted to establish the concepts of progress, opening-up, inclusiveness, civilization and science and abandon the close-door, outdated, conservative and fatuous thoughts of closeness among the people of various ethnic groups, and build the consciousness of the community of Chinese nation in the innermost of various ethnic groups.
In May 2014, China proposed to build Xinjiang into the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt commonly known as CPEC. Guided and driven by Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang has continuously deepened economic exchanges and cooperation with worldwide countries especially neighboring countries. Over the past five years, the core area construction, focusing on “one port (Urumqi International Land Port), two zones (Horgos and Kashgar economic development zones), five centres (trade and logistics centre, transport hub centre, culture and scientific education centre, medical service centre and regional financial centre) and port economic belt”, has a clearer roadmap and a notable efficiency improvement. In recent years, Xinjiang has insisted on “ushering in eastern and western resources, linking with the east and exporting to the west”, stressed on expanding opening-up to other domestic regions and global countries, and striven to build itself into a portal of the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt and for China’s westward opening-up. In 2018, China’s foreign trade volume amounted to $20 billion, 1,481 times of that at the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. Xinjiang has given full play of its unique tourism resource competitiveness, showed the dividends from stability, energetically carried out tourism-based development strategy and seen a blowout growth in tourism. During the past three years, Xinjiang recruited 12,400 foreign students. Five hospitals in Xinjiang have launched international medical services, providing more than 20,000 treatments for foreign patients. It conducted cross-border remote medical service platform pilot construction. A total of 29 hospitals in the region have set up a cross-border remote medical service platform with 24 large hospitals in the neighboring three countries.

In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “Not angling for compliments, I’d be content to let my integrity fill the universe”, indicating Chinese people’s calmness and stability, and the CPC’s insistence on the initial mind of seeking happiness for Chinese people and peace for the world. I sincerely wish you to give an objective and true report on what you see, hear, experience and think in Xinjiang and the hospitality and friendliness of the people of various ethnic groups of the region to enable your audience and international community to have a better understanding on the true situation of Xinjiang and of China.” Truly this is what I have observed in China during my recent visit to Urumqi, Akesu and historic city of Kashgar. The way government of Xinjiang in particular and Central government in general have proved in curbing terrorism in the great province of Xinjiang is remarkable and exemplary. Pakistan and China have long been suffering from terrific hazards of extremism and terrorism by common enemies. But because of strong positive policies both China and Pakistan have overcome this monster by crushing terrorist groups. For safe and prosperous future of our nations both China and Pakistan need to crush extremists and terrorists with iron hands by all means.