Western development strategy, aiming at boosting the development of the western area of China, was initiated by the Communist Party of China in 1999. It is the largest ever and also the most arduous development strategy in human history.
Western development strategy applies to an area of 6.85 million square kilometers, accounting for 71.4 percent of China's total area. This area covers 12 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, including Chongqing, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Guangxi, with a total population of 400 millions. Vast in area and resource-abundant, the western area is still comparatively less developed due to its natural, historical and social conditions. The western region is home to most of China's poor population, .
The strategic goal of western development is that by mid 21st century when China will basically realize its overall modernization, we will at the same time fundamentally reverse the region's backward situation, substantially narrow the gap of development between different regions, and make the western region a place of economic prosperity, social progress, stable life, ethnic unity and well-off people, with environmentally beautiful mountains and rivers.
The Chinese government has intensified its efforts in planning, policy support, investment, project arrangements, and exchange of talent for the western area since the program was carried out. By 2005, the central government had invested 1.6 trillion yuan in the area. The area's annual GDP growth rate had hit 10.6 percent, with local fiscal revenues up 15.7 percent year on year. So far, over 70 major projects have begun constructions. The region's economic conditions have greatly improved. Visible progress has also been made in eco-environmental protection and infrastructure construction.
(CRIENGLISH.com September 20, 2007)