Xi en­dorses jobs in­crease in Xin­jiang

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The cen­tral govern­ment has pledged to boost em­ploy­ment in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, a move that ex­perts say is cru­cial for im­prov­ing liveli­hoods and main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said au­thor­i­ties in Xin­jiang must make im­prov­ing em­ploy­ment their top pri­or­ity, urg­ing them to help res­i­dents to gain more skills, to find jobs or to start their own businesses.

Xi was ad­dress­ing a two-day, top-level con­fer­ence on Xin­jiang at­tended by nearly all se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cials and which closed on Thurs­day in Bei­jing.

He said the num­ber of Xin­jiang res­i­dents go­ing else­where in China to study, find work or to set­tle should be ex­panded. Xi asked the govern­ment to al­lo­cate more ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing to Xin­jiang and said schools should push bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion.

The pres­i­dent also called for “nets spread from the earth to the sky” to com­bat ter­ror­ists in Xin­jiang and stressed that long-term sta­bil­ity was the main goal for the re­gion.

He said that people’s le­gal re­li­gious de­mands should be pro­tected in ac­cor­dance with laws and reg­u­la­tions, while their cus­toms should be re­spected.

The meet­ing was held fol­low­ing a se­ries of bloody ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the re­gion, in­clud­ing one last week at an open-air mar­ket in Urumqi, the re­gion’s cap­i­tal, that left 39 in­no­cent vic­tims dead and an­other 94 in­jured.

China has con­vened four high-level meet­ings ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing Xin­jiang’s de­vel­op­ment since 2010 and as­signed eco­nom­i­cally de­vel­oped mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and prov­inces to help selected ar­eas in the re­gion.

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said at the meet­ing that em­ploy­ment had been the big­gest con­cern for Xin­jiang people.

The pre­mier asked the lo­cal govern­ment to en­sure that eco­nomic growth ben­e­fited res­i­dents.

He said all en­ter­prises and in­vest­ment projects in the re­gion must re­cruit more lo­cal work­ers.

Tur­gun­jan Tur­sun, a so­ci­ol­ogy re­searcher at Xin­jiang Re­gional Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said: “Em­ploy­ment is the most im­por­tant pil­lar to Xin­jiang’s de­vel­op­ment and sta­bil­ity. Most of the par­tic­i­pants in vi­o­lent or ter­ror­ist acts in the re­gion were young people who had no jobs or were in un­sta­ble em­ploy­ment.”

Such people were sus­cep­ti­ble to fall­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of trou­ble­mak­ers.

He said the job mar­ket in Xin­jiang had been un­sat­is­fac­tory for the past decade de­spite con­tin­u­ous ef­forts by the cen­tral govern­ment and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

“Some large en­ter­prises in­vest­ing and op­er­at­ing in the re­gion failed to take care of the em­ploy­ment needs of lo­cal res­i­dents, es­pe­cially those from eth­nic mi­nori­ties, or even cir­cum­vented the govern­ment’s re­quire­ment to hire a cer­tain num­ber of lo­cal work­ers in their units,” he said.

He sug­gested the govern­ment adopt stricter su­per­vi­sion on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of fa­vor­able poli­cies, adding, “Au­thor­i­ties should also use fi­nan­cial and tax mea­sures to en­cour­age en­ter­prises to em­ploy more lo­cal people.”

In ad­di­tion, other prov­inces and cities with high num­bers of work­ers from Xin­jiang should bet­ter pro­tect the le­gal rights of the re­gion’s work­ers and strengthen train­ing for them, Tur­gun­jan Tur­sun said.

“Send­ing more Xin­jiang people to work out­side the re­gion can help en­hance their sense of unity and affin­ity with people from other eth­nic groups, boost cul­tural ex­changes and al­le­vi­ate la­bor short­ages in other places.”

Zheng Liang, a re­searcher at Xin­jiang Univer­sity who has long fol­lowed em­ploy­ment is­sues in the re­gion, said: “En­ter­prises should not evade their so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. They must help the govern­ment re­solve the needs of job­less res­i­dents in south­ern ar­eas of Xin­jiang.”

Lo­cal people should also stop think­ing that only govern­ment de­part­ments or pub­licly funded in­sti­tu­tions of­fered good jobs, as this led to a re­luc­tance to find jobs in the busi­ness sec­tor, Zheng said.

PHOTO BY CHINA DAILY

Po­lice of­fi­cers in an anti-ter­ror drill in Bei­jing on Thurs­day sub­due ter­ror­ists and res­cue civil­ians. More than 2,800 of­fi­cers and 90 ve­hi­cles par­tic­i­pated in the 40-minute event, the largest of its kind in the cap­i­tal this year.

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