China increases subsidies for poor in troubled Xinjiang

Amid growing number of violent attacks in the restive Xinjiang province where Chinese troops battle a separatist movement, government has hiked subsidies for poor in the province to improve their living standards.

PTI| Updated: May 02, 2014, 21:46 PM IST

Beijing: Amid growing number of violent attacks in the restive Xinjiang province where Chinese troops battle a separatist movement, government has hiked subsidies for poor in the province to improve their living standards.

Regional government subsides for poor families in northwest China`s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has been increased by 6.6 per cent to reach 4.16 billion yuan (USD 676 million) in 2014, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The increase came in the backdrop of stepped up violence in the province where the native Muslim Uygurs were agitated over the increased settlements of Han Chinese from other provinces.

In the last two months, militants stated to be from East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the independence of the province staged two major attacks including the one on April 30 at a railway station in the provincial capital Urmuqi, killing three people and injuring 79 others.

On March 1, militants attacked passengers at the railway station in Kunming city with swords in which 33 people were killed and 143 others wounded.

Uygurs constitute 40 per cent cent of the 22.6 million while Hans account for 40 per cent in the resource rich Xinjiang.

As a key programme to improve people`s living standards, the regional government earmarked 2.3 billion yuan and 1.8 billion yuan as living subsidies for urban and rural poor families respectively, Peng Gang, an official with the regional civil affairs department said.

Xinjiang has 8.60 lakh urban citizens and 1.3 million rural residents who enjoy living subsides.
The monthly per-capita subsidy is about USD 46 for urban families and USD 22 for rural households.
In 2013, the regional government allocated 3.9 billion yuan as the minimum living allowances for the poor.