Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
|Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps|
|Active||1954 – present|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Allegiance||Communist Party of China|
|Type||State-owned enterprise & Paramilitary|
|Headquarters and area served||Ürümqi & Xinjiang|
|Nickname(s)||Bingtuan ("The Corps")|
|Political Commissar||Chen Quanguo|
|Party Secretary||Sun Jinlong|
The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, known as XPCC or Bingtuan for short, is a unique economic and paramilitary organization in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 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 directly administers all these cities (as opposed to subordinating them to any prefectures). The Autunomous Region Government in Urumuqi does not usually interfere in the day-to-day administration of these areas.
The XPCC was founded by Wang Zhen in 1954 under the orders of Mao Zedong. The stated goals of the XPCC are to develop frontier regions, promote economic development, ensure social stability and ethnic harmony, and consolidate border defense. 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 (中国新建集团). It has a number of publicly traded subsidiaries.
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. 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 and soldiers from the local Ili National Army. 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". 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. 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 and start a war. The XPCC was ordered to cultivate the farms of those who fled. 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.
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 re-establishment of the XPCC in 1981 as well as the cultivation of frontier lands and economic development.
The XPCC is administered by both the central government of the China as well as the government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It has sub-provincial powers on par with sub-provincial cities. The Party Secretary of Xinjiang serves as the "executive political commissar" of the XPCC, while the XPCC's own party chief usually concurrently serves as the political commissar of the XPCC and acts as its highest day-to-day authority. 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 Party Committee Secretary of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region is the first political commissar of XPCC ex officio 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 current Western Theater Command that includes all of western China. At present, the military personnel of the XPCC are mostly reservists or militia.
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:
|XPCC First Division||1953||Aksu Prefecture||Aral|
|XPCC Second Division||1953||Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture||Tiemenguan|
|XPCC Third Division||1966||Kashgar Prefecture||Tumxuk|
|XPCC Fourth Division||1953||Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture
(southern, directly administered portion)
|XPCC Fifth Division||1953||Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture||Shuanghe|
|XPCC Sixth Division||1953||Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture||Wujiaqu|
|XPCC Seventh Division||1953||area west of Karamay||Tianbei New Area, Kuytun|
|XPCC Eighth Division||1953||area east of Karamay||Shihezi|
|XPCC Ninth Division||1962||Tacheng Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture||Emin County|
|XPCC Tenth Division||1959||Altay Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture||Beitun|
|XPCC Construction Engineering Division||1953||N/A||Ürümqi|
|XPCC Twelfth Division||1982||Ürümqi||Ürümqi|
|XPCC Thirteenth Division||1982||Hami||Hami|
|XPCC Fourteenth Division||1982||Hotan Prefecture||Kunyu|
The XPCC has built ten medium-sized cities during its history, and now controls nine 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. Nine XPCC-administered cities are nominally listed as "sub-prefectural-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"
|↳||Tianbei New Area||天北新区||TBD||2002–present|
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. 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%. About 13% (2002) of the population of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are connected to the XPCC.
|Ethnic groups in XPCC, 2002 estimate|
The Eighth Division is the most populous division, with a population of 579,300 (2002).
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:
- Xinjiang Baihuacun Co., Ltd. (新疆百花村股份有限公司) (百花村, 600721.SS) – primarily information technology
- Xinjiang Tianye Co., Ltd. (新疆天业股份有限公司) (新疆天业, 600075.SS) – primarily plastics
- Suntime International Economic-Trading Co., Ltd. (新天国际经贸股份有限公司) (新天国际, 600084.SS) – primarily international trade
- Xinjiang Talimu Agriculture Development Co., Ltd. (新疆塔里木农业综合开发股份有限公司) (新农开发, 600359.SS) – primarily cotton
- Xinjiang Yilite Industry Co., Ltd. (新疆伊力特实业股份有限公司) (伊力特, 600197.SS) – primarily alcohol
- Xinjiang Chalkis Co., Ltd (新疆中基实业股份有限公司) (新中基, 000972.SZ) – primarily tomatoes and related industries
- Xinjiang Tianhong Papermaking Co., Ltd. (新疆天宏纸业股份有限公司) (新疆天宏, 600419.SS) – paper manufacturing
- Xinjiang Tianfu Energy Co., Ltd. (新疆天富能源股份有限公司) (天富能源, 600509.SS) – electricity
- Xinjiang Guannong Fruit & Antler Co., Ltd. (新疆冠农果茸股份有限公司) (冠农股份, 600251.SS) – fruits; animal husbandry
- Xinjiang Qingsong Cement Co., Ltd. (新疆青松建材化工股份有限公司) (青松建化, 600425.SS) – cement
- Xinjiang Sayram Modern Agriculture Co., Ltd. (新疆赛里木现代农业股份有限公司) (新赛股份, 600540.SS) – primarily cotton
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.
- O'Neill, Mark (2008-04-13). "The Conqueror of China's Wild West". Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
- "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.
- Rossabi, Morris (2005). Governing China's Multiethnic Frontiers. University of Washington Press. pp. 157–158.
- Originally translated from the 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.
- Official site (in Chinese)