The practice of stationing garrison troops to cultivate and guard its border areas is a legacy of China’s several thousand years of history of developing and safeguarding its frontiers. The central government first adopted this practice on a large scale in what is known as the Western Regions (the major part of which was today’s Xinjiang) more than 2,000 years ago, during China’s Western Han Dynasty, and it continues to this day. In 1949 Xinjiang was peacefully liberated. In 1954 the central government decided to form a production and construction corps in Xinjiang. This strategic move conformed to national conditions and the realities of Xinjiang, representing a continuation and development of historical experience under new conditions.
The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) started from scratch 60 years ago. It has since made strenuous efforts to fulfill faithfully the responsibilities the state has entrusted to it to cultivate and guard the border areas. Despite a harsh natural environment, XPCC workers put down roots in Xinjiang. They have reclaimed ecological oases from the desolate Gobi desert, initiated Xinjiang’s mo dernization, built large-scale agriculture and industrial and mining enterprises, and established new cities and towns through joining hands with local people of all ethnic groups. Combining the functions of production, administration, and defense, the XPCC has made indelible contributions to the development of Xinjiang, by promoting unity among ethnic groups, maintaining social stability, and strengthening national border defense.
On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the XPCC, we issue this white paper which presents a comprehensive introduction to the history and development of the XPCC, to give the international community a better knowledge of its functions and nature as a social organization, and of XPCC members as a social group.