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Guizhou targets villages for greater protection efforts

By Xu Wei ( China Daily )

Updated: 2017-03-29

A guideline published by the Guizhou provincial government is prioritizing poverty-relief efforts for ethnic groups in a bid to eradicate the problem by 2020.

The government will redouble efforts to raise living standards through infrastructure development, resettlement projects and the development of industries, in line with the objectives outlined in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

On Thursday, Xu Fei, deputy director of the Guizhou Provincial Commission for Ethnic and Religious Affairs, told a media briefing that the guideline has set a target of lifting all 77 minority villages out of poverty by the end of the decade.

Areas inhabited by minority groups have many problems, including low levels of economic development, poor infrastructure, slow urbanization and a lack of cultural and public services, he said.

"The cultures of some ethnic groups are in danger of shrinking or even disappearing altogether," he said, noting that cultural heritage, folk handicrafts and art forms are also in danger of being lost.

In 2015, the per capita GDP in autonomous ethnic areas was about 50 percent lower than the national average, according to the guideline.

The provincial government has named 500 key villages as targets for protection and renovation, Xu said, adding that programs will be launched to help people learn Mandarin in addition to their own ethnic languages.

Guizhou is one of China's most ethnically diverse provinces, with 17 indigenous minority groups, eight of them with populations numbering less than 50,000 people each, according to the commission.

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