production and distribution

Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps

新疆生产建设兵团
Xīnjiāng Shēngchǎn Jiànshè Bīngtuán
Headquarters Urumqi
First Political Commissar Wang Lequan
Political Commissar Nie Weiguo
Commander-in-chief Hua Shifei
Area of jurisdiction 74,300 km²
Population (2003)
 - Density
2,542,000
34/km²
GDP (2002)
 - per capita
RMB 26.9 billion
RMB 10582
Major nationalities (2002) Han - 88.1%
Uyghur - 6.6%
Hui - 2.6%
Kazakh - 1.7%
Mongol - 0.3%
Divisions 14

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps also known as XPCC or Bingtuan or Bing Tuan for short, is a unique economic and semi-military governmental organization existing in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China. The XPCC has de facto administrative authority over several medium-sized cities as well as settlements and farms all across 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 stated goals of the XPCC are to develop frontier regions, promote economic development, ensure social stability and ethnic harmony, and counter the East Turkestan independence movement. In its 50-year history, the XPCC has built farms, towns, and cities, and settled millions of migrants, mainly Han Chinese, into Xinjiang. As such, the XPCC is lauded in China as a cornerstone of stability and prosperity in an otherwise troubled region, and characterized as a vehicle of colonization and sinicization among supporters of East Turkistan independence.

The XPCC also participates in economic activities, and is known as the China Xinjian Group (). It has a number of publicly traded subsidiaries.

The XPCC was founded by Wang Zhen in 1954 under the orders of Mao Zedong.

History

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. 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 Guomindang soldiers and the Ili National Army (the military forces of the East Turkestan Republic). 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. 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. The crises of 1962, in which rioting occurred in Yining and thousands of refugees fled to the Soviet Union, also prompted the government to divert more people and resources to the XPCC. 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.

By the 1980s Xinjiang was once again feeling the pressures of ethnic and religious strife, Uyghur independence movements, and Soviet encirclement (Afghanistan had been invaded in 1979). In 1981 the XPCC was restored, with explicit objectives of countering Soviet encirclement, the East Turkistan independence movement, Islamic fundamentalism, as well as the cultivation of frontier lands and economic development.

Organization

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 Region, 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

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 Cities administered (if any)
XPCC First Agricultural Division 1953 Aksu Prefecture Aksu Aral
XPCC Second Agricultural Division 1953 Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture Korla
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 Bortala
XPCC Sixth Agricultural Division 1953 Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture Wujiaqu Wujiaqu
XPCC Seventh Agricultural Division 1953 area west of Karamay Kuitun Tianbei New District of Kuitun
XPCC Eighth Agricultural Division 1953 area east of Karamay Shihezi Shihezi
XPCC Ninth Agricultural Division 1962 Qoqek Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Dorbiljin County
XPCC Tenth Agricultural Division 1959 Altay Prefecture of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Beitun town of Beitun
XPCC Construction Engineering Division 1953 N/A Urumqi
XPCC Twelfth Agricultural Division 1982 Urumqi prefecture-level city Urumqi
XPCC Thirteenth Agricultural Division 1982 Kumul Prefecture Kumul
XPCC Fourteenth Agricultural Division 1982 Hotan Prefecture Hotan

Cities

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. Four of the 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.

The cities are, with dates of official designation as "cities" in parentheses: Kuitun (1975), Shihezi (1976), Aral (2002), Tumushuke (2002), Wujiaqu (2002), and Beitun. (See above table for the divisions that control them.) Beitun is officially designated as a "town", and has not been officially designated as a "city". Kuitun is no longer controlled by the XPCC, though it once was (by the 7th division) before 1975. Today, the 7th division administers Tianbei New District, a part of Kuitun.

Demographics

Most of the population of the XPCC is Han Chinese, while Uyghurs, Hui, and Kazakhs are the largest minority groups. The XPCC constitutes about 13% (2002) of the population of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Ethnic groups in XPCC, 2002 estimate
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
Source:

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

Economy

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

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

  • Originally translated from 新疆生产建设兵团
  • Study of the Infrastructure of Xinjiang
  • Article on the Bing Tuan role in Beijings settlement policy

External links

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