Eth­nic re­gions see eco­nomic growth

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By TANG YUE tangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Eco­nomic growth in re­gions in­hab­ited by eth­nic groups in China has been faster than the rest of the coun­try in the past few years, but poverty alleviation re­mains a long-term chal­lenge, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased on Tues­day.

The gross do­mes­tic prod­uct growth rate of the coun­try’s five eth­nic au­ton­o­mous re­gions — Xin­jiang Uygur, Ti­bet, Ningxia Hui, In­ner Mon­go­lia and Guangxi Zhuang — and of the three prov­inces in­hab­ited by many eth­nic groups — Yun­nan, Guizhou and Qing­hai — was above the na­tional av­er­age in 2015, which was 6.9 per­cent.

How­ever, the GDP per capita in th­ese ar­eas is still quite low. Such lev­els in all th­ese prov­inces and re­gions, ex­cept In­ner Mon­go­lia, is be­low the na­tional av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to the 2016 An­nual Re­port on De­vel­op­ment of Eth­nic Mi­nori­ties in China by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

Of all 592 na­tional-level tar­get coun­ties for poverty alleviation, 263, or 44.4 per­cent, are in eth­nic au­ton­o­mous ar­eas. Poverty stricken res­i­dents ac­count for 12.1 per­cent of the ru­ral pop­u­la­tion in th­ese eight prov­inces and re­gions, well above the na­tional av­er­age, which is 5.7 per­cent.

“With the na­tion’s eco­nomic growth slow­ing down, poverty alleviation in eth­nic ar­eas re­mains a chal­lenge and is cru­cial for the de­vel­op­ment of the re­gions in the long run,” said Wang Yanzhong, chief editor of the re­port and di­rec­tor of CASS’ In­sti­tute of Eth­nol­ogy and An­thro­pol­ogy.

While the na­tional av­er­age il­lit­er­acy rate of those older than 15 was 7.4 per­cent in 2014, the rate in eth­nic ar­eas was higher. Ti­bet had the high­est il­lit­er­acy rate — al­most 40 per­cent — with the rate for the fe­male pop­u­la­tion in the re­gion hit­ting 48 per­cent, it said.

By 2014, the cen­tral govern­ment had in­vested more than 1.4 bil­lion yuan ($202 mil­lion) in the de­vel­op­ment of vil­lages with eth­nic fea­tures, pro­tect­ing eth­nic cul­ture while fos­ter­ing in­dus­tries pro­mot­ing lo­cal spe­cial­ties, the re­port said.

How­ever, some vil­lage build­ings have been re­con­structed un­der a unified style to at­tract tourists, los­ing their orig­i­nal value, it said.

It added that a small pop­u­la­tion is a chal­lenge that many eth­nic groups face in in­her­it­ing and pro­mot­ing in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage. Will­ing­ness of Han Chi­nese and eth­nic groups to in­ter­act with each other

CHEN XIAODONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

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