Xi: In­ner Mon­go­lia makes gains

Pres­i­dent cites ad­vances, sees brighter eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal fu­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Guo Yong­cai, a re­tired forestry worker at Ar­shaan, Hing­gan League, In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, moved from his shanty hut to a newly built apart­ment last year as the lo­cal gov­ern­ment presses for­ward with ren­o­va­tions to the com­mu­nity.

Be­fore mov­ing into the apart­ment, the 77-year-old man had worked at the lo­cal forestry bureau for over 3 decades. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping vis­ited Guo’s home, a hut mea­sur­ing 38 square me­ters, on a cold day in January 2014, dur­ing which Xi urged lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to pay more at­ten­tion to im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hoods.

“As long as there re­mains one fam­ily or even one per­son who has not re­solved their ba­sic liveli­hood prob­lems, we will not take a rest,” Xi told lo­cal of­fi­cials.

The pres­i­dent also vis­ited a herds­man’s fam­ily in Xilin­gol League. Af­ter learn­ing about the dif­fi­cul­ties of elec­tric­ity and trans­porta­tion, Xi urged the lo­cal gov­ern­ment to de­velop a plan to solve the prob­lems.

Fol­low­ing the pres­i­dent’s in­struc­tions, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment sped up its work in ar­eas like shan­ty­town ren­o­va­tion, poverty re­duc­tion, pen­sions and med­i­cal ser­vices. In the past five years, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment says 1.78 mil­lion peo­ple have been lifted out of poverty, with their av­er­age net in­comes in­creas­ing over 15 per­cent a year.

Th­ese im­prove­ments come as 2017 marks the 70th an­niver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, the coun­try’s first such re­gion. With a pop­u­la­tion of 25 mil­lion, the north­ern re­gion is home to a mix of eth­nic mi­nor­ity groups, in­clud­ing Mon­go­lian, Manchu, Hui, Ewenki and Korean.

Last year, In­ner Mon­go­lia’s GDP hit 1.86 tril­lion yuan ($275 bil­lion), an in­crease of 7.2 per­cent year-on-year, while per capita GDP was 74,000 yuan, up by 6.9 per­cent.

Dur­ing his trip to the au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Xi re­it­er­ated pro­mo­tion of an eco­log­i­cal civ­i­liza­tion sys­tem to pro­tect the re­gion’s prairies and en­vi­ron­ment.

“We should con­trib­ute more to build­ing a beau­ti­ful China, and ex­plore a green path in ac­cor­dance with nat­u­ral law and the coun­try’s sit­u­a­tion,” Xi said.

The au­ton­o­mous re­gion, which has large coal re­serves and rare earth de­posits, used to suf­fer from eco­log­i­cal degra­da­tion and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion caused by over-ex­ploita­tion of nat­u­ral

re­sources, in­clud­ing coal, in past decades. The pres­i­dent’s or­der to pro­tect en­vi­ron­ment has led to a se­ries of mea­sures taken by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment to im­prove ecol­ogy.

For ex­am­ple, the Xilin­gol League gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated in 2015 about 75 per­cent of the league’s area as the re­serve, where ex­ploita­tion of re­sources is strictly lim­ited. The league has de­nied 24 ma­jor projects in the past two years that could have posed a threat to the en­vi­ron­ment.

The au­ton­o­mous re­gion has put for­ward 37 reg­u­la­tions to build an eco­log­i­cal civ­i­liza­tion through such mea­sures as pro­tect­ing the grass­lands, forests, lakes and wet­lands. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials will be held ac­count­able in 84 dif­fer­ent types of in­stances for fail­ing to ful­fill their du­ties of pro­tect­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Dur­ing his in­spec­tion tour, Xi told In­ner Mon­go­lian of­fi­cials to streamline in­dus­trial chains and fo­cus more on in­no­va­tion-driven de­vel­op­ment, thus trans­form­ing the au­ton­o­mous re­gion’s eco­nomic struc­ture and cut­ting emis­sions at the same time.

The pres­i­dent’s in­struc­tions had been put into ac­tion by the au­ton­o­mous re­gion — last year, the pro­por­tion of the coal in­dus­try among In­ner Mon­go­lia’s over­all in­dus­trial econ­omy has dropped from 34 per­cent five years ago to 22 per­cent.

Last year, about 21 per­cent of In­ner Mon­go­lia’s elec­tric­ity was gen­er­ated us­ing new en­er­gies. About 90 per­cent of the au­ton­o­mous re­gion’s new job va­can­cies were cre­ated by small and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises last year.

Xi has paid at­ten­tion to the coun­try’s eth­nic groups, and he has ex­pressed con­cern for eth­nic peo­ple’s liveli­hoods on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.

In May 2016, when he vis­ited a Hezhe vil­lage in North­east China’s Hei­longjiang prov­ince, Xi said China’s 56 eth­nic groups are part of one fam­ily and none will be left be­hind on the road to pros­per­ity. The Hezhe are one of China’s small­est eth­nic groups, with a pop­u­la­tion of only 5,000 peo­ple, mostly in Hei­longjiang.

Xi, in a March panel dis­cus­sion dur­ing the an­nual ses­sion of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, the top leg­is­la­ture, vowed to safe­guard the har­mony and sta­bil­ity of the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion and im­prove the peo­ple’s liveli­hoods in the north­west­ern re­gion.

“We should love eth­nic unity as lov­ing our eyes, cher­ish eth­nic unity like cher­ish­ing our lives, and hold to­gether tightly like pome­gran­ate seeds,” Xi told law­mak­ers from Xin­jiang.

In­ner Mon­go­lia has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and pro­mot­ing pros­per­ity dur­ing the past 70 years, For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said in late July at an event in Bei­jing or­ga­nized to show­case the progress of In­ner Mon­go­lia dur­ing the past seven decades.

“To­day, un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, In­ner Mon­go­lia is pre­sent­ing an un­prece­dented new look to the world,” Wang told an au­di­ence that in­cluded am­bas­sadors and other diplo­mats.

He praised the re­gion for its re­silience in tack­ling de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and poverty, and its piv­otal role in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the his­toric China-Rus­sia Tea Road, once a vi­tal life­line for trade.

In­ner Mon­go­lia is a ma­jor link be­tween two key Belt and Road coun­tries — Rus­sia and Mon­go­lia. The Chi­naEurope Land-Sea Ex­press Route ex­tends from In­ner Mon­go­lia to Europe.

The pres­i­dent has at­tached great im­por­tance to the open­ing-up of In­ner Mon­go­lia, say­ing the au­ton­o­mous re­gion is a door for the coun­try’s north­ward open­ing-up, given its ge­o­graphic ad­van­tage of bor­der­ing Mon­go­lia and Rus­sia. The au­ton­o­mous re­gion has 18 ports and 4,200 kilo­me­ters of bor­der link­ing with Rus­sia and Mon­go­lia.

The In­ner Mon­go­lia should boost re­form and de­vel­op­ment through its open­ing-up, Xi said, ad­ding that the au­ton­o­mous re­gion should de­velop port economies, en­hance in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, im­prove the mech­a­nism to co­op­er­ate with Mon­go­lia and Rus­sia and turn the re­gion into an im­por­tant hub for China’s north­ward co­op­er­a­tion.

The au­ton­o­mous re­gion, which boasts lush green pas­tures, is also known as China’s dairy cen­ter due to its qual­ity milk prod­ucts and is at­tract­ing in­vest­ment in­ter­est from coun­tries such as New Zealand, ac­cord­ing to the re­gion’s gov­ern­ment.

Li Ji­heng, Party chief of In­ner Mon­go­lia, said the re­gion has de­vel­oped into an im­por­tant win­dow into China’s open­ing-up and a sig­nif­i­cant part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

“We will pur­sue in­no­va­tive and co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment, and adapt ac­tiv­ity to the new nor­mal (in China’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment) ... to en­sure strong growth for new types of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion,” Li said.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, In­ner Mon­go­lia is pre­sent­ing an un­prece­dented new look to the world.”

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi

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