Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a package of tax reforms, government investment targets and investment incentives for East Turkistan bordering central Asia during a conference, state television reported.
Many Muslim Uighurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.
Xinjiang in the name China called in 1955 has oil and gas reserves and is spanned by a gas pipeline linking China to central Asian suppliers. Its economy grew by 8.0 percent in 2009, compared to national GDP growth of 8.7 percent. But many Uighurs are poor, and even well-educated ones can have difficulty finding steady, well-paid jobs under restive Chinese policy.
Xinjiang's population of 21 million is mainly divided between Muslim Uighurs, long the region's majority, and Han Chinese, many of whom arrived in recent decades.
Human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.
Uighur demonstrators took the streets in Urumqi in 2009 to protest against Han Chineses’ attacks on Uighurs workers at a factory in south China in June which left two Uighurs dead. Hans in Urumqi sought bloody revenge two days later.
World Uighur Congress said that near 800 Uighurs were killed during a week-violence after Han Chineses attacks and following intervention of China forces. The China governmnet put the death toll 197.
Among the new policies was a long-expected revamp on a resource tax in Xinjiang, which produces roughly 13 percent of the country's total crude oil and 28 percent of natural gas.
The resource tax for oil and gas produced in Xinjiang will be levied based on price instead of quantity, effectively raising the revenue for the regional government.
This policy will cut into revenues for energy firms operating in the region, including PetroChina and Sinopec Corp.
The government will also relax policies about using natural gas in Xinjiang in an effort to attract more companies who use it for production.
A government meeting that ended on Thursday approved measures that President Hu told the three-day meeting that East Turkistan "has an especially important strategic status" for China, the China News Service reported.
Hu said the region should undergo a spurt in development so that its average economic output per resident reached the national average by 2015.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told the meeting that the fixed asset investment goal for East Turkistan in the government's next five-year plan from 2011 would be more than double the amount in the current plan that ends this year. Banks will be encouraged to expand services in the region, he said.
ReutersLast Mod: 21 Mayıs 2010, 16:14