Full Text: Historical Witness to Ethnic Equality, Unity and Development in Xinjiang
September 24,2015   By:Xinhua
The People's Republic of China has upheld ethnic equality, unity, common prosperity and development of all ethnic groups as the basic principles in solving ethnic problems and handling ethnic relations. It made it a state policy to practice ethnic regional autonomy in areas where people of ethnic minorities live in concentrated communities. When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the ethnic peoples of Xinjiang mainly comprised the Uygur, Han, Kazak, Hui, Kirgiz, Mongolian, Xibe, Tajik, Manchu, Uzbek,Russian, Daur and Tartar, with the Uygurs boasting the largest population. Each of these ethnic groups was characterized by living in homogenous communities of its own, or by living together with or mixing with other groups, and the various peoples maintained close and extensive relations - a continuation of the traditional lifestyle. The practice of ethnic regional autonomy in Xinjiang has ensured the democratic rights of all ethnic peoples in the region, making them the masters of Xinjiang. It is also of great significance in strengthening the harmonious relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance of the various ethnic groups, safeguarding national unification, accelerating economic development, and promoting social progress in Xinjiang.
On August 22, 1952, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Program of the People's Republic of China for Implementing Ethnic Regional Autonomy, the second session of the first people's congress of all ethnic groups and walks of life was held in Xinjiang Province, passing the Resolution on Executing the Program of the People's Republic of China for Implementing Ethnic Regional Autonomy and forming a preparatory committee for exercising ethnic regional autonomy in Xinjiang Province on September 10. 
In its official written reply on December 22, 1953, the Government Administrative Council of the Central People's Government approved the Measures for Exercising Ethnic Regional Autonomy in Xinjiang Province, initiating the preparatory work for establishing autonomous areas in Xinjiang in an orderly fashion. By 1954, with the approval of the central government, Xinjiang had completed the preparations for the establishment of autonomous areas at or below the prefecture level, establishing five autonomous prefectures, i.e., Bayingolin Mongolian, Bortala Mongolian, Kizilsu Kirgiz, Changji Hui and Ili Kazak, six autonomous counties, i.e., Yanqi Hui, Qapqal Xibe, Mori Kazak, Hoboksar Mongolian, Tashkurghan Tajik and Barkol Kazak.
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