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Inner Mongolia marks 70 years of fruitful regional ethnic autonomy
Last Updated: 2017-08-09 07:41 | China Daily
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The Inner Mongolia autonomous region had a lot to celebrate on its 70th anniversary on Tuesday, including having built a society growing in prosperity that is based on regional ethnic autonomy.

The festive mood spread from a celebratory ceremony, attended by 20,000 people in the capital, Hohhot, to the 25 million residents of this region's 1.18 million square kilometers of land.

"The successful example set by Inner Mongolia proves that regional ethnic autonomy is the choice suitable for China," said Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political adviser.

Yu led a 63-member national-level delegation that attended the main ceremony at the Inner Mongolia Ethnic Sports Center.

"The system is a base for a harmonious society and other ethnic policies of our country," he said. "Based on the premise of following national policies and keeping national unity, it can handle special issues of ethnic regions, like protection of local cultures."

The region, founded in 1947, was the first provincial-level ethnic autonomous region in China.

"Unity of ethnic groups is the lifeline for all," he said.

Yu praised Inner Mongolia for its efforts to enhance communication among different ethnic groups for common development.

"The growth of ethnic groups is interdependent on each other," he said. "Diversity should be respected."

Yu urged more detailed and complete policies under regional ethnic autonomy to fill the economic gaps between different areas and handle other social issues.

At the same time, he urged the autonomous region to remain vigilant for separatists from overseas, and keep the country's northern border stable and prosperous.

Inner Mongolia's gross regional product reached 1.86 trillion yuan ($278 billion) in 2016. Per capita, that amounts to 74,000 yuan, putting it in sixth place among China's provinces and regions, according to Li Jiheng, the Party chief of the autonomous region.

The region is also the country's biggest coal producer and electric power provider. "Development is more coordinated, and reforms have been strengthened," Li said. "Society is now focused on improving people's livelihood."

In 2011, 2.58 million people in Inner Mongolia were living in poverty, but that number dropped to 556,000 in 2016, Li said.

Yu encouraged improved, creative and diverse industries with the unique characteristics of Inner Mongolia. He also suggested continuing to reduce excessive production capacity, guarding against financial problems while building infrastructure, and safeguarding the environment while developing the economy.

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