Officials briefs media 60 years of development of Ningxia Hui autonomous region
At the press conference, the chairwoman of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region said that the region has made historic achievements in terms of its development since it was founded 60 years ago
She stressed that the region has always prioritized economic development, and its economic power has become stronger than ever.
"We've been sticking to a new concept of development, and we've seen new breakthrough and growth in comprehensive strength over the past six decades."
The Ningxia autonomous region in northwestern China was founded on October 25, 1958.
It is home to almost seven million people, including many people from Chinas's Hui, Uygur, and Dongxiang ethnic minority groups. About 20 percent of China's Hui population lives in Ningxia, and a majority of them are Muslim.
Xian Hui says Ningxia has changed a lot over the past six decades. In 2017, the region's Gross Domestic Product 345 billion yuan, 52.2 billion U.S. dollars. This is more than a 1,000 times what it was in 1958. And Ningxia's per capita GDP was 50,197 yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 7 percent since the autonomous region was established.
Poor transportation infrastructure has long been a factor that has hampered development in this landlocked region. This has been changing thanks to China's growing high-speed rail network.
There are currently three high-speed railways under construction in Ningxia. One connects the regional capital of Yinchuan with Xining in Qinghai Province and Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Another line connects Zhongwei (中卫) with Lanzhou, in Gansu province.
Xian Hui spoke highly about the positive impact of high-speed rail on the region.
"The dream of Ningxia's people to have high-speed railways is about to come true".
Ningxia has also made strides in poverty alleviation. Xian Hui says that Ningxia has relocated 1.3 million people who were living under harsh conditions in the region's mountainous areas.
"We use more than 70 percent of our financial resources to improve the livelihood of the people in the region. The region has lifted 3.3 million people out of poverty since 1958; and about 719 thousand people have gotten rid of poverty in the past 5 years, which accounts for 21.8 percent of the population that has been moved out of poverty."
But despite the achievements, poverty alleviation is still a major challenge for the region. Around a quarter of a million people are still living below the poverty line, and the national government has set the goal of lifting them all out of poverty by 2020.
Starting in mid-September, Ningxia will host a series of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the autonomous region. This will include memorial ceremonies, galas, and exhibitions.
Zhang Chaochao, the executive vice chairman of the region, talks about the goal of the commemorations.
"To celebrate the anniversary and our achievements, a delegation from the central government will visit and express their gratitude to the role models who have been contributing to the development of the region."