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Commanding the Economy: The Recurring Patterns of Chinese Central Government Development Planning among Uyghurs in Xinjiang

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image of Inner Asia

The Xinjiang work Forum convened in May 2010 set out an ambitious package of economic reforms in the wake of unrest in Urumchi, Xinjiang, in July 2009. The reforms can be interpreted as a tacit admission of economic failures in the region, especially the capacity of the Great western Development Drive to bring economic prosperity to all ethnicities. However, the formation and implementation of Xinjiang work Forum policies followed patterns evident in the formation and implementation of the Great western Development Drive and many centrally driven economic initiatives before it; namely, non- participatory, lacking in monitoring mechanisms and filled with traditional approaches of Han Chinese management of minority affairs. while the first two patterns occur frequently in Chinese government development planning nationwide, the third pattern is not as prevalent, and in Xinjiang it has exacerbated tensions. This makes development planning in Xinjiang distinct from many other parts of the country. attention to local conditions and local expertise is all the more acute in such situations. although the final assessment on Xinjiang work Forum policies is pending, the continuance of exclusionary practices makes it difficult to predict anything other than a new cycle of building Uyghur frustrations over economic conditions.


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