Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps

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Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
Native name 新疆生产建设兵团
Type State-owned enterprise
Founded 1954
Founders Wang Zhen
Headquarters Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China
Area served Xinjiang
74,300 km2 (28,700 sq mi)
2,607,184 people (2010 census)[1]
Key people
Divisions 14
Website www.bingtuan.gov.cn
Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 新疆生產建設兵團
Simplified Chinese 新疆生产建设兵团
Uyghur name
Uyghur
شىنجاڭ ئىشلەپچىقىرىش قۇرۇلۇش بىڭتۇەنى

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, known as XPCC or Bingtuan for short, is a unique economic and semi-military governmental organization in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The XPCC has administrative authority over several medium-sized cities as well as settlements and farms in Xinjiang. It has its own administrative structure, fulfilling governmental functions such as healthcare and education for areas under its jurisdiction. The Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region does not usually interfere in the administration of these areas.

The XPCC was founded by Wang Zhen in 1954 under the orders of Mao Zedong.[2] The stated goals of the XPCC are to develop frontier regions, promote economic development, ensure social stability and ethnic harmony, and consolidate border defense.[3] In its 50-year history, the XPCC has built farms, towns, and cities, and provided land and work for disbanded military units. The XPCC also participates in economic activities, and is known as the China Xinjian Group[3] (中国新建集团). It has a number of publicly traded subsidiaries.

History[edit]

Main article: Migration to Xinjiang

The XPCC draws from the traditional Chinese tuntian system, a policy of settling military units in frontier areas so that they become self-sufficient in food, and similar policies in the Tang and Qing dynasties.[4] Construction corps were set up for several sparsely-populated frontier regions, including Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang. The newly founded People's Republic of China also had the problem of what to do with many former non-Communist soldiers who had been removed from economic production for many years. Ideas about settling such soldiers on the land had been common in China for many years. The Chinese government formed the XPCC from soldiers from the (Communist) First Field Army, former Kuomintang soldiers[4] and soldiers from the local Ili National Army.[2] The XPCC itself was founded in October 1954, comprising 175,000 military personnel based in Xinjiang, led by Tao Zhiyue as its first commander-in-chief.

The XPCC was initially focused on settling, cultivating, and developing sparsely-populated areas, such as the fringes of the Taklimakan Desert and Gurbantunggut Desert, under the principle of "not competing for benefits with the local people".[3] It also served as a reserve force for the military in Xinjiang, although they were not called upon, since relations with the Soviet Union were good in the early years of the People's Republic.[2][4] The ranks of the XPCC were also joined by many youth, both male and female, from other parts of China, to balance out its sex ratio and include members with better education backgrounds. In 1962, after the Sino-Soviet split, rioting occurred in Yining and 60,000 ethnic minorities living across the border fled to the Soviet Union. The Chinese government feared that the Soviet Union was trying to destabilize China[4] and start a war.[2] The XPCC was ordered to cultivate the farms of those who fled.[2] By 1966 the XPCC had a population of 1.48 million.

The XPCC, together with many other governmental and party organizations, was severely damaged by the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. In 1975 it was abolished completely, with all of its powers transferred to the government of Xinjiang and regional authorities.[3]

After the Soviet Union invaded neighbouring Afghanistan in 1979, and the Islamic mujahid movement gained force, fears of Soviet encirclement and Islamic fundamentalism lead to the reopening of the XPCC in 1981[3] as well as the cultivation of frontier lands and economic development. According to The Economist, "Many Uighurs are resentful of such a large, economically powerful and politically autonomous entity in Xinjiang that employs so few of their own ethnic group."[5]

Organization[edit]

The XPCC is administered by both the central government of the People's Republic of China as well as the government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It has sub-provincial powers on par with sub-provincial cities, and its economic and social development are administered separately from that of Xinjiang. The area and population of the XPCC are generally given as part of Xinjiang's total figures, but the GDP of the XPCC is generally listed separately.

The XPCC is subdivided into divisions, then regiments. It is headquartered at Urumqi. Each XPCC division corresponds to a prefecture-level administrative division of Xinjiang, and are in themselves sub-prefectural in rank.

The XPCC itself, as well as each individual division, is headed by three leaders: a first political commissar, a political commissar, and a commander. The role of first political commissar of the XPCC is filled by the CPC Xinjiang committee secretary, and the first political commissars of each XPCC division is likewise the committee secretary in each of the corresponding prefecture-level divisions.

In addition to regiments, the XPCC also administers regiment-level farms and ranches.

At the end of the 20th century, the military role of the XPCC has been diluted, being given instead to the Xinjiang Military District, a part of the Lanzhou Military Region that includes all of northwestern China. At present, the military personnel of the XPCC are mostly reservists or militia.

Administrative structure[edit]

The XPCC consists of 14 divisions which are then subdivided into 185 regiment-level entities (including regiments, farms, and ranches), scattered throughout Xinjiang, mostly in previously unpopulated or sparsely-populated areas.

The divisions are:

Name Founded Location (approximate) Headquarters
XPCC First Agricultural Division 1953 Aksu Prefecture Aksu, Aral
XPCC Second Agricultural Division 1953 Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture KorlaTiemenguan
XPCC Third Agricultural Division 1966 Kashgar Prefecture Kashgar, Tumushuke
XPCC Fourth Agricultural Division 1953 Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture
(southern, directly administered portion)
Yining
XPCC Fifth Agricultural Division 1953 Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture BoleShuanghe
XPCC Sixth Agricultural Division 1953 Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture Wujiaqu
XPCC Seventh Agricultural Division 1953 area west of Karamay Kuitun, Tianbei New District
XPCC Eighth Agricultural Division 1953 area east of Karamay Shihezi
XPCC Ninth Agricultural Division 1962 Tacheng Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Emin County
XPCC Tenth Agricultural Division 1959 Altay Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Beitun
XPCC Construction Engineering Division 1953 N/A Ürümqi
XPCC Twelfth Agricultural Division 1982 Urumqi prefecture-level city Ürümqi
XPCC Thirteenth Agricultural Division 1982 Kumul Prefecture Kumul
XPCC Fourteenth Agricultural Division 1982 Hotan Prefecture Hotan

Settlements[edit]

The XPCC has built six medium-sized cities during its history, and now controls five of them. The governments of these cities are combined entirely with the division that controls them. For example, the division headquarters is the same entity as the city government, the division political commissar the same person as the city committee secretary, the division commander the same person as the city's mayor, and so forth. Five XPCC-administered cities are nominally listed as "county-level cities" of Xinjiang Uyghur Administrative Region, but the government of Xinjiang is usually not involved in the administration of these cities.

Name Dates of official
designation as a "city"
Governing period
Kuitun[2] 奎屯市 1975 1953–1975
Tianbei New Area 天北新区 TBD 2002–present
Shihezi[3] 石河子市 1976 1953–1975, 1980–present
Aral 阿拉尔市 2002 1953–1975, 1980–present
Wujiaqu[3] 五家渠市 2002 1953–1975, 1980–present
Tumushuke 图木舒克市 2002 1966–1975, 1980–present
Beitun 北屯市 2011 2002–present
Tiemenguan 铁门关市 2012 2002–present
Shuanghe 双河市 2014 2002–present

Demographics[edit]

37 ethnic groups are represented in the XPCC, the largest of which are the Han, Uyghur, Kazakhs, Hui, and Mongol. Muslims, numbered at 250,000, are the largest religious group represented, while there exist smaller populations of Buddhists, Protestants, and Catholics.[3] While the Han have been the largest group of XPCC workers, their relative numbers have seen a decline: from 1980 to 1993 the overall membership of the XPCC remained constant, while Han membership declined from 90% to 88%.[4] About 13% (2002) of the population of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are connected to the XPCC.

Ethnic groups in XPCC, 2002 estimate[6]
Nationality Population Percentage
Han 2,204,500 88.1
Uyghur 165,000 6.6
Hui 64,700 2.6
Kazakh 42,700 1.7
Mongol 6,200 0.3
others 18,100 0.7

The Eighth Division is the most populous division, with a population of 579,300 (2002).

Economy[edit]

The XPCC is currently focused on economic development as its stated primary goal. With the continued opening up of the economy, the XPCC has created many publicly traded subsidiary companies involved in the production and sale of a variety of products. When involved in such economic activities, the XPCC uses the name "China Xinjian Group".

The primary economic activity of the XPCC remains agriculture, including cotton, fruit, vegetables, food crops, vegetable oils, sugar beets, and so forth. Important products are cotton, tomatoes, ketchup, Korla pears, Turpan grapes, wine, and so forth. The XPCC has a mix of factory farming and smaller farms.

During its history, XPCC established a large amount of mining and mining-related industries, most of which have subsequently been handed over to the Xinjiang government. Currently the XPCC is primarily engaged in food- and agriculture-related industries.

The XPCC is also involved in a variety of tertiary industries, including trade, distribution, real estate, tourism, construction, even insurance.

Currently the XPCC has eleven publicly traded subsidiaries. They are:

Culture[edit]

The XPCC has its own separate education system covering primary, secondary, and tertiary education. It currently has two universities:

The XPCC has its own official daily newspaper, the Bingtuan Daily, as well as TV stations at both the XPCC and division levels.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 《兵团日报》(2011 年12 月29 日):2010年兵团第六次全国人口普查暨兵团人口统计调查主要数据公报
  2. ^ a b c d e f O'Neill, Mark (2008-04-13). "The Conqueror of China's Wild West". Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "IX. Establishment, Development and Role of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps". History and Development of Xinjiang. State Council of the People's Republic of China. May 2003. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Rossabi, Morris (2005). Governing China's Multiethnic Frontiers. University of Washington Press. pp. 157–158. 
  5. ^ Settlers in Xinjiang: Circling the wagons
  6. ^ Source

Sources[edit]

  • Originally translated from Chinese Wikipedia article
  • Becquelin, Nicolas. "Xinjiang in the Nineties." The China Journal, no. 44 (2000): 65-90.
  • Desai, Sohum, Study of the Infrastructure of Xinjiang, Security Research Review.
  • McMillen, Donald H. "Xinjiang and the Production and Construction Corps: A Han Organisation in a Non-Han Region." The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, no. 6 (1981): 65-96.
  • O'Neill, Mark, "The Conqueror of China’s Wild West", Asia Sentinel, 13 April 2008.
  • For additional information, see James D. Seymour, "Xinjiang’s Production and Construction Corps, and the Sinification of Eastern Turkestan,” Inner Asia, 2, 2000, pp 171–193.

External links[edit]