BEIJING, May 4 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent inspection tour to Xinjiang was a long-deliberated move and an important landmark in the country's policies toward the terrorism-torn region.
From April 27 to 30, Xi visited villages, troops, local police stations, mosques and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Maintaining social stability and prolonged peace is the general objective for work in Xinjiang presently, Xi said during the visit.
Fighting terrorism with an iron hand, implementing development to benefit the common people, and strengthening military presence in the region appeared to be the priorities of the renewed Xinjiang policy.
Xi's tour focused on Kashgar and southern Xinjiang, an area mainly inhabited by Muslim Uygur people that has been frequently attacked by terrorists and extremists.
Xi visited the southern Xinjiang military region and armed police troops in Kashgar, and later a local police station, vowing to preemptively fight terrorism.
His tour to Kashgar and southern Xinjiang also showed that the central authorities can face up to the underlying economic causes -- poverty, unemployment and inequality -- of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.
Xi emphasized that development is the key to addressing all issues in Xinjiang. He said development should benefit the people, the local area and ethnic unity. Promoting employment of minorities is vital to people's livelihood and stability.
Xinjiang has long been known for its abundant natural resources, such as oil, coal, and natural gas. However, exploitation of resources has enriched large enterprises and entrepreneurs rather than the local area and its people.
Xi's remarks suggest that policy for Xinjiang may focus more on labor-intensive industries, agriculture industrialization and other traditional local industries. As long as locals have businesses or jobs to do, they can make a living and have a promising future, instead of going down the wrong path of terrorism.
The president also inspected the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). Founded in 1954, the semi-military governmental organization shoulders the dual task of production and security, and has transformed the vast bare wasteland into a new oasis and built a number of modern towns in the region.
Xi said more efforts are needed to build the corps into a stabilizer of the country's border areas, a melting pot that integrates various ethnic groups, as well as a model region showcasing advanced productivity and culture.