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  • Across China: Xinjiang eyes housing, education for poverty mitigation
    2014-07-03    source:新华网    author:
    Although no grapes have been planted yet, Bamhan can not help gazing at the empty trellis on which the fruits will hopefully soon hang in her new garden.

    In an example of the Chinese government pouring funds into improving local livelihoods, Bamhan has had a house -- and her prized trellis -- built for her free of charge in rural Hotan Prefecture in northwest China's under-developed Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

    "I can't wait for the coming fall, when we can grow some grapes on it and share them with our neighbors," 72-year-old Bamhan said.

    Previously, the family, with two mentally disabled sons, were only able to enjoy the local delicacies when they were presented by neighbors.

    The new house is one of a number in the area built as part of a housing project supported by central and regional governments. Beijing is Hotan's partner in China's one-on-one system in which developed regions help with the development of less-developed ones.

    Bamhan and her family were allocated a total government subsidy of 28,500 yuan (4,634 U.S. dollars) and 40,000 yuan as allowance granted to low-income families for the building of their 45-square-meter brick house.

    While she did not pay a penny for the construction, Bamhan insisted on cooking a meal everyday for the workers. It was her way of expressing gratitude.

    Over the past three years, the regional government has poured 74.25 billion yuan into the overall housing project in Hotan, helping 920,000 households, or 3.6 million farmers and herdsmen.

    In addition to home improvement, dual-language education is also part of government efforts to lift local people out of poverty.

    Miriwen Emer has decided to leave her hometown to see the world outside.

    Miriwen, a Uygur in Kashgar Prefecture who has never left Xinjiang before, finished the national college entrance examination last month and applied for a medical university in Dalian, a coastal city in northeast China.

    "I have been eager to see the sea since I was young, so I applied for a beach-side college," she said, speaking fluent mandarin.

    At the second central work conference on Xinjiang held in Beijing in May, President Xi Jinping urged Xinjiang to boost Uygur-mandarin education and encouraged Xinjiang people of various ethnic groups to study, work and live in the inland to boost mutual understanding and communication.

    In the prefecture where most residents do not speak mandarin, Miriwen received education in both Uygur and mandarin languages in high school, and achieved a decent score.

    With such education, more young people like her are expected to transform their lives and give the region a different future.

    Miriwen's father was a farmer in rural Kashgar. Since 2011, when the family started raising Dolan, a kind of sheep, their income has greatly increased.

    This year, the family earned 21,000 yuan by selling the sheep, a remarkable sum compared with the village's annual per-capita income of less than 6,000 yuan.

    "My family never worry about my tuition any more," Miriwen said, knowing that she can finally embrace her new life and realize her dreams.