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One of China's poorest regions to gain access by expressway - Xinhua, CHina

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  • Zafar Khan
    One of China s poorest regions to gain access by expressway www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-25 20:48:59
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2004
      One of China's poorest regions to gain access by
      www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-25 20:48:59


      YINCHUAN, March 25 (Xinhuanet) -- China is
      building an expressway leading to a Muslim-dominated
      region believed to be one of its eight poorest regions
      in the coming years.

      The expressway runs through Tongxin County and six
      other mountainous counties in Guyuan Prefecture in
      southern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the largest
      Muslim-inhabited area in China located in the

      People of Hui ethnic group in the seven counties
      make up 65 percent of the total population there.

      The counties are part of Xihaigu, an area with big
      barren mountains, deep gorges and chronic drought. No
      expressway or high grade roads have ever been built to
      link this out-of-the-way area with the national
      highway network.

      Children of local farmers had to traverse 10
      kilometers to attend school everyday. Villagers carry
      water on donkey back from scores of kilometers away.

      The annual per capita income of farmers was less
      than 2,000 yuan (240 US dollars) last year. Some
      713,000 people, or one thirdof the total population in
      the Xihaigu area, are still living under the poverty

      To help this ethnic people inhabited area get out
      of poverty, the central government joined hands with
      the Asian Development Bank to build the expressway,
      which is part of the expressway between the city of
      Yinchuan, the regional capital, and Wuhan, thecapital
      of Hubei Province in central China.

      Construction of the 1,460-km-long expressway will
      cost an investment of 5.4 billion yuan (650 million US
      dollars), of which 250 million dollars will be
      provided by the ADB, the largest foreign-funded
      project in Ningxia.

      Xihaigu area is a leading potato, watermelon and
      mutton producer. Local farm produce is shipped to
      Gansu, Sichuan, Shaanxi,Henan and Hubei provinces
      annually. Tongxin County is one of the largest
      cashmere bases in China, turning out 2,000 tons of
      cashmere a year, which account for one third of the
      total cashmereoutput.

      Operation of the expressway is to open an access
      to economically-developed central and eastern parts of
      China for thispoor ethnic area to promote the
      development of animal husbandry, agricultural,
      building, starch processing and tertiary industries in
      Ningxia, said Ma Fu, mayor of Guyuan City.

      Local residents are overjoyed with start of the
      expressway. Ding Kuizhong, a 19-year-old farmer of Hui
      group, said with laugh,"Operation of the speedway
      makes it possible for us to study and work in cities
      as the road is less than a kilometer from my home."

      Though some may find it hard to see the long-term
      result at thepresent stage, many local residents have
      already benefited from the project.

      Ma Xiaoyan, a woman of Hui ethnic group, said she
      and her husband earned 6,000 yuan by transporting
      earth and stone for the project in two months.

      An estimated 4,000 farmers in seven southern
      mountainous counties of Ningxia are working at the
      construction site. The project is expected to hire
      5,000 laborers in each of the four years, bringing 20
      million yuan (2.4 million US dollars) in profits
      annually for farmer-turned workers, said Rui Ninghua,
      an official in charge of the speedway construction in

      Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank has provided
      5 million USdollars to build roads leading to
      respective ethnic village.

      "The project brings high hope for farmers," Mao
      Xiaoyan said. Enditem

      To know more about Chinese Muslims see:

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