European Institute for Asian Studies
Xinjiang's Socio-Economic Development: The Role of OBOR
  • Start10:30 AM - Jun 23 2017
  • End12:30 PM - Jun 23 2017
  • Asia Platform, Rue de la Loi 26, 10th floor, 1040 Brussels
  • + 32 2 230 81 22
  • alberto.turkstra@eias.org

Programme

10:00-10:30

Registration

10:30-10:40

Introduction by the Chair

Mr Xavier Nuttin, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS)

10:40-11:00

Keynote Address

 

Mr. Xing Guangcheng, Professor and Director of the Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

11:00-12:15

Panel Discussion

Mr. Yang Shengmin, Professor, Central University for Nationalities

Mr. Ma Pinyan, Professor, Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences

Mr. Dimulati Aomaier, President, Ethnology and Sociology Institute, Xinjiang Normal University 

Prof. Dr. Ching Lin Pang, Associate Professor, University of Antwerp and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 

Dr. Duncan Freeman, Research Fellow, EU-China Research Centre, College of Europe

Mr. Bernard Dewit, Chairman, Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

 12:15-12:30

 Q&A

 12:30 

 Networking Reception

Xinjiang’s Socio-Economic Development: The Role of OBOR

Located at the intersection of Central, South and East Asia, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is China’s largest administrative division but also one of its most sparsely populated. It is a region facing diverse challenges, but is also home to encouraging potential. Xinjiang is the ancestral home of the Uyghur ethnic group, one of China’s recognized minorities who primarily practice Islam and speak the Uyghur language. The region has been marked by civil unrest perpetrated by Uyghur separatists as well as increased security measures by the Chinese government in response. Regardless, there are high hopes for the future of Xinjiang’s social and economic development and for its promise as a gateway to new frontiers across the continent.

Development indicators including per capita income and access to state services are much lower in the region than the national average, and its geographic isolation and heightened security concerns have restricted progress. Growing economic inequality and the influx of migrant labor from China’s other provinces have also exacerbated sociocultural tensions. Despite this, positive growth rates in the region over the past decade, increased infrastructure investment, and better efforts by the central government to preserve Uyghur culture and guarantee rights offer potential avenues for sustainable progress. What is the role of balanced development in maintaining stability in Xinjiang, and what challenges remain? What opportunities will long-term stability open for the future of the region? 

China is currently in the process of rolling out its extensive One Belt One Road (OBOR) development initiative, multiple sections of which will run through Xinjiang to connect the entire country to Turkey, Western Russia, Pakistan and beyond. In this way, Xinjiang has become something of a geographic lynchpin for economic connectivity across Eurasia, and thus demands increased attention from the international community. The entire OBOR initiative promises to have huge implications for China’s trade relationships and regional influence. How will OBOR’s infrastructure projects impact China’s position and development in the region? How can Xinjiang build connectivity both within and outside of China’s borders? How can OBOR benefit Xinjiang’s economic development? 


China is currently in the process of rolling out its extensive OBOR initiative, multiple sections of which will run through Xinjiang to connect the entire country to Turkey, Western Russia, Pakistan and beyond. In this way, Xinjiang has become something of a geographic lynchpin for economic connectivity across Eurasia.

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