China Approves 12th Five-Year Plan for Western Regions

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By Julia Gu

Feb. 27 – China’s State Council announced last week that it has approved the 12th Five-Year Plan for Further Promoting the Economy of the Western Regions (“the Plan”), a step that is aimed at narrowing the gap between the country’s wealthy coastal provinces and its under-developed western regions.

Specifically, the Plan will target 12 provinces: Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Chongqing, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Yunnan.

The seven major development goals set by China’s central government are as follows:

  • Increasing economic growth;
  • Expanding infrastructure construction;
  • Improving the ecological environment;
  • Providing better public services;
  • Developing and strengthening local industries;
  • Elevating people’s living standards; and
  • Reforming and opening up the region. Continue reading…

The Man from Ashgabat – Xinjiang’s Key to Central Asia

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A unique combination of Islam and Russia blends to produce a unique Asian trade opportunity

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Nov. 24 – Xinjiang has long held the fascination of the exotic-minded businessman. Fabled for its association with the ancient Silk Road and Western legends through the travel exploits of Marco Polo, as well as with Chinese mythology through the epic classic “Journey to the West” mixed together with more recent shades of Britain and Russia playing out their “Great Game.” All the while set to the Oriental Islamic mysticism of veiled women, Turkish coffee, silk magic carpets and water pipes, hubbling and bubbling with pure hashish. If Xinjiang didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent it as the setting for the ultimate Indiana Jones movie. Perhaps one day Spielberg will set foot here, and if not, Daniel Craig should in a remake of the 19th Century adventures in Imperial espionage that took place in Kashgar. Continue reading…

Shihezi – China’s Cotton and Textiles Hub

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Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Oct. 12 – One of the hidden treasures of Xinjiang is Shihezi. Actually the region’s second largest city after Urumqi, this has long been a farming community and is often regarded with typical Chinese aplomb as “A Shining Pearl in the Gobi Desert.” Continue reading…

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