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