The autonomous areas are in a position to cater to their own local and ethnic conditions in their development, and the central government can organize cross-regional and inter-ethnic support and assistance while vigorously helping the minority areas to develop their economy and culture, thus giving full play to the advantages of all sides and accelerating the development in minority areas. From the above it is clear that regional ethnic autonomy is a combination of political and economic factors. It contributes to national unity, social stability and ethnic solidarity and serves the development of the entire country and minority areas.
1. Preparations for Regional Ethnic Autonomy
After being liberated peacefully, Xinjiang continued the past province system. In December 1949, the People’s Government of Xinjiang Province led by Burhan Shahid, Gao Jinchun and Sayf-ud- Din and composed of representatives from all ethnic groups and social quarters in Xinjiang was set up under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and its Xinjiang branch. In that government an Ethnic Affairs Committee was established to administer the ethnic work in the province. The Provincial People’s Government formulated the administration principle of “equality, solidarity and mutual assistance among all ethnic groups in Xinjiang” and improved ethnic relations. In the meantime, it initiated rapidly the democratic reform campaign to transform the old sub-provincial regime bodies, repeal feudal lordship, the thousand/hundredhousehold chief (“qian-hu-zhang”/ “bai- hu-zhang”) system and the past neighborhood administrative system (“baojia” system), and set up the people’s grassroots regime in both the urban and rural areas. General elections were held across Xinjiang and produced deputies to people’s congresses at the township, county, city and provincial levels. The transition from the old to the new regime was gradually completed, social order in Xinjiang was stabilized, and a number of minority cadres were trained according to plan, all of which laid favorable groundwork for the introduction of regional ethnic autonomy.
In August 1952, the second meeting of the first All Ethnic Group and All Social Quarter People’s Assembly was convened in Xinjiang Province, which adopted the Resolution on Tibet Lhasa 2015 reisen the Implementation of the Implementing Guidelines of the People’s Republic of China for Regional Ethnic Autonomy and announced the establishment of the preparatory committee for regional ethnic autonomy in Xinjiang Province, which was chaired by Burhan Shahid. The preparatory committee adopted a policy of “prudent proceeding, active preparation and gradual introduction” and began to prepare for regional ethnic autonomy in a top-down fashion across Xinjiang. In December, the CPC Central Committee Northwest Bureau approved the Implementing Programme for Regional Ethnic Autonomy in the Northwest and made prioritized arrangements for the work of regional ethnic autonomy in Xinjiang.