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West China Scores 9.6 Percent GDP Increase in First Nine Months
The gross domestic product (GDP) of China's western regions, which scored a 8.5 and 8.7 percent growth in 2000 and 2001 respectively, maintained a growth rate of 9.6 percent in the first three quarters of this year, higher than the national average, according to Li Zibin, deputy director of the Office of the Leading Group under the State Council for the Development of the Western Regions.

China's strategy of developing its vast western hinterland has progressed smoothly and achieved conspicuous results, said Li, also vice minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission, at a press conference hosted in Beijing Tuesday by the Media Center for the ongoing 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"Thanks to correct guidelines and effective measures adopted by the central government, the western regions in the past three years have enjoyed a rapid growth of economy and investment inflow," he said.

Meanwhile, a host of major infrastructure projects, including the hugely-invested Qinghai-Tibet Railway on the "terrace of the world" and the west-east natural gas pipeline project, have been launched, mainly with central government funding, he added.

"The Develop-the-West strategy is a great practice of implementing the important thought of Three Representatives and of building a well-off society," he said.

The western regions on the development list consist of 11 provinces and autonomous regions as well as a municipality, which have a total area of 6.85 million square kilometers and a 364 million population. The average per capita GDP there, however, only accounts for some 40 percent of that in the more developed eastern coastal regions.

China launched the western development campaign in 1999, with Premier Zhu Rongji serving concurrently as head of the State Council Leading Group for the Development of the Western Regions.

(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2002)

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