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China witnesses fast development in ethnic regions
update:October 10,2016
Oct. 10, 2016 -- As seen in his 2016 New Year greeting video, three photos in President Xi Jinping's office capture moments when he visited ethnic regions and talked with local people. It was a telltale sign of how important Xi sees ethnic minorities.
China officially has 56 ethnic groups with more than 80 spoken languages, and autonomous ethnic areas account for 64 percent of the country's total area.
In September 2014, the country's leadership proposed intensified development in ethnic regions through a mix of policy incentives and better use of each regions' natural strengths, with different policies for border areas, impoverished regions and areas with fragile environments. Solving ethnic issues through Chinese characteristics has brought a series of new policies and practices to these regions.
Three months later, more officials from minority groups were promised that they would be given "full trust," along with the cultivation of intellectuals from minority backgrounds. Policies would help train bilingual teachers to teach students Mandarin, while respecting their local tongues.
Greater support was promised from the banking, securities and insurance sectors, which were asked to support infrastructure construction and better connectivity.
The president once said that all ethnic groups in China should hold together like pomegranate seeds to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Since the end of 2012, Xi has visited ethnic areas 12 times, leaving his footprints on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the northern steppe and the banks of the Yellow River.
In November 2013, he visited Fenghuang County, a poor region in Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture in central China's Hunan Province, to see the local situation for himself.
In the early spring of 2015, he invited residents from the Drung-Nu Autonomous County of Gongshan to join him in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, as he visited the region.
In May, Xi visited a village of the Hezhe tribe, one of China's smallest minorities, which number less than 6,000.
In July, he was found sheltering from the rain in an impoverished house in the city of Guyuan in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, inquiring about the family's living conditions, employment, income, education and health.
The next month, he visited Golmud City of Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province.
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