The State Ethnic Affairs Commission will aid China's 22 less populous ethnic minorities in economic, social, cultural, educational and medical development in 2001, commission Minister Li Dezhu said in Beijing Friday.
The country has 55 ethnic minorities in total. The commission, along with other government agencies, will increase construction of irrigation works, electric power stations, highway and railways, and communications facilities in ethnic areas.
International economic co-operation and commercial ties are also encouraged by the commission.
The commission organized several investigation and research groups to study minority issues in 2000 with the help of experts from Peking University and Central University of Nationalities.
This is the second-largest survey of China's ethnic groups since 1949, said Mou Benli, vice-director of the commission.
The commission also has worked out measures for the 22 minorities' development, together with other departments.
Most of the 22 ethnic groups with populations of less than 100,000 people live in areas along the border. Among them, seven have populations of fewer than 10,000 people, including the Lhoba minority group with 2,300 people in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
(China Daily 01/13/2001)