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Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Related
UPDATED: July 9, 2009
History and Development of Xinjiang (II)

Implementing a more liberal childbirth policy for ethnic minorities than for the Han people. Based on the state family planning policy, the People's Congress of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has, according to the region's actual circumstances, formulated the Provisional Regulations on Family Planning of Ethnic Minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to implement a more liberal childbirth policy for ethnic minorities than for the Han people and promote the growth of the population of ethnic minorities, which enables the natural population growth of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to be higher than that of the local Han people. In 2001, the natural population growth of ethnic minorities was 13.04 per thousand, whereas that of the Han was 8.25 per thousand. The first national census, conducted in 1953, showed that the combined population of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang was 4.54 million. When the fifth national census was conducted in 2000, the figure had risen to nearly 10.97 million.

Freedom of religious belief is respected and protected. Most people belonging to ethnic minorities in Xinjiang hold one religious belief or another. In the case of certain ethnic minorities, religions are followed on a mass scale. For instance the Uygur, Kazak and Hui believe in Islam, and the Mongolian. Xibe and Daur believe in Buddhism. The right to freedom of religious belief for various ethnic groups is fully respected, and all normal religious activities are protected by law. Now, there are more than 24,000 venues for religious activities in Xinjiang, of which 23,753 are Islamic mosques. There are 26.800 clerical persons, of whom 26,500 are of the Islamic faith. Every year, the government allocates specialized funds for the maintenance and repair of the key mosques, monasteries and churches. In 1999 alone, 7.6 million yuan was allocated by the Central Government for the reconstruction of the Yanghang Mosque in Urumqi, the Baytulla Mosque in Yining and the Jamae Mosque in Hotan.

Religious personages enjoy full rights to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs. Currently, more than 1,800 religious personages in Xinjiang have been elected to posts in people's congresses and committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at all levels, of whom one is in the National People's Congress, four in the National Committee of the CPPCC, 21 in the people's congress of the autonomous region, and 27 in the regional committee of the CPPCC. They take the initiative in participating in deliberation and administration of state affairs on behalf of religious believers, and in exercising supervision over the government in respect to the implementation of the policy of freedom of religious belief. To ensure the normal handling of religious affairs by religious personages, the government grants stipends to those who are in financial difficulties.

Protecting the legal rights and interests of religious organizations in accordance with the law. Since 1982, a total of 88 religious organizations have been reinstated or established in the autonomous region, of which one Islamic association and one Buddhist association are at the regional level; 13 Islamic associations, three Buddhist associations and one Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee of the Protestant Churches are at the pre-fectural (prefectural-class city) level; 65 Islamic associations, two Buddhist associations and two Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committees of the Protestant Churches are at the county (county-class city) level. All religious bodies independently carry out religious activities within the scope prescribed by law. All religious bodies play an important role in training, fostering, educating and administering their clergy and establishing and running religious schools, as well as in international religious exchanges.

In order to ensure the normal operation of religious activities, Xinjiang has established an Islamic college specializing in training senior clergymen. Islamic bodies in prefectures and pre-fectural-level cities have opened Islamic classes to train clergymen in accordance with actual needs. To enhance religious personages' level of learning, train a contingent of high-caliber religious personages, and establish a three-tiered (regional, prefec-tural and county) training system, the government has allocated funds to train in-service clerical persons in rotation, and organized investigative tours for religious personages so as to broaden their vistas and enrich their knowledge.

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