A ceremony is held to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in the regional capital Yinchuan on Thursday. PHOTOS BY WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY
The central government will better support the development of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and make sure that relatively less-developed ethnic areas achieve a moderately prosperous society in all respects together with other regions by 2020, a senior official said on Thursday.
However, people who deliberately instigate ethnic tensions or division will be punished in accordance with the law, regardless of their religion or ethnic group, said Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
"We firmly oppose the attempts to divide and contain China by using the excuses of ethnic, religious and human rights issues," he said.
Wang made the remarks while delivering a speech at a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in the regional capital of Yinchuan. He led a 62-member central delegation attending a series of events marking the anniversary, which began on Wednesday.
Ningxia was founded on Oct 25, 1958, and has a population of 6.82 million. More than 36 percent of its people are from the Hui ethnic group and a majority of them are Muslim.
The CPC Central Committee, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and the Central Military Commission jointly sent a congratulatory letter to Ningxia to mark its 60th anniversary.
Performers engage in ethnic dances at the ceremony.
The letter said the founding of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region was a milestone in the history of China's ethnic relations, and the region has achieved historic changes in the past six decades. The region's GDP reached 345 billion yuan ($50.2 billion) in 2017, more than 1,000 times what it was in 1958, according to official data.
Achieving faster economic growth and maintaining ethnic unity are in line with the fundamental interests of people in Ningxia, and is also the common wish of the CPC Central Committee and people all across the country, the letter said.
Wang said that people from all ethnic groups are equal, and relatively less-developed ethnic areas should not be viewed as burdensome.
Although lifting people out of poverty in ethnic areas is indeed one of the key challenges in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the challenge can be overcome by letting people enjoy more fruits of reforms so people from ethnic groups or ethnic areas won't fall behind others in stepping into a moderately prosperous society, he said.
Wang also made it clear that treating Han culture as the sole Chinese culture and excluding the culture of any ethnic group from Chinese culture are both wrong. People need to respect differences and embrace diversity, he said.
"People need to deal with different problems in accordance with their nature instead of randomly labeling them as ethnic issues," he said.