With leadership and support by the central government, and through over 50 years of arduous efforts by the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, the autonomous region has made historic and outstanding achievements in its economic and social development. However, as Xinjiang is located in China’s northwest border, with rough natural conditions and a weak economic foundation, it is still faced with many difficulties in developing its public undertakings, such as education, culture and medical care and health. And there is still the onerous task of raising the living standard of the people of all ethnic groups. It is the common wish of the people of all the ethnic groups in Xinjiang, as well as the strategic plan of the central government, to speed up Xinjiang’s development.

In 1999, the central government made an important decision to implement the great western development strategy, which provides a rare historical opportunity for Xinjiang’s development. The autonomous region has drawn up its 10th Five-Year Plan and a development plan for the period up to 2010, in accordance with the state’s general plan on implementing this strategy. According to this plan, by 2005 the GDP of the entire region should reach 210 billion yuan (calculated on the prices in 2000), with an annual growth rate of 9% and the GDP per capita of over 10,000 yuan; the investment in fixed assets should reach 420 billion yuan; the annual growth of urban residents’ disposable income per capita should reach around 7% and farmers’ net income per capita should increase by 150 yuan each year; the average housing floorage per capita of urban residents should reach 23 sq m, and the living environment, housing quality and hygienic conditions of rural residents should be greatly improved. It is planned that, by 2010, the autonomous region’s GDP should be at least double that of 2000, and the people should be much better off.

The prospects for Xinjiang’s economic and social development are bright. With the support of the central government and other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, through arduous efforts, will build their autonomous region into an even more beautiful and prosperous place.