Across China: Better infrastructure empowers lives in Xinjiang

Tumenbay Yuradagxi runs the only automobile repair shop in the township of Ulugqat, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In recent years, improved roads, an increase in the number of vehicles and a stable supply of electricity have contributed to Yuradagxi's soaring business.

Ulugqat, not far from the China-Kyrgyzstan border, is located along a long belt of impoverished areas in China and comes under the jurisdiction of the county of Wuqia.

Five years ago, the condition of this township was completely different, said Yuradagxi, 47.

"Power supply was not stable at all," Yuradagxi said. "We had to rely on a tiny hydropower station for electricity."

Poor supply of power severely affected his auto workshop. Besides, a limited number of vehicles in the area added to the misery.

"In best cases, my family's combined income was about 5,000 yuan (708 U.S. dollars) a year," he said.

In late 2015, a power grid expanded to the township, providing an impetus for local development and Yuradagxi's business. "I no longer have to worry about power shortages when fixing cars," he said.

In recent years, State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Co., Ltd. expanded power networks to villages in border areas, helping local farmers and herdsmen alleviate voltage problems.

The road conditions in Xinjiang have also improved, allowing smooth movements of big trucks and tourist buses. This in turn further benefitted Yuradagxi's automobile workshop. Currently, the family's monthly income stands at around 6,000 yuan.

According to regional transport authorities, by 2019, the combined length of operational roads in Xinjiang's rural areas had exceeded 130,000 km (excluding the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps), benefiting more than 9 million farmers and herdsmen.

In 2015, Yuradagxi's family moved into a new house equipped with water supply, electricity and heating, from their mud shack. According to local authorities, 2.39 million new houses have been constructed in Xinjiang, enabling all impoverished residents to move out of their existing dangerous houses.

Health care facilities in Xinjiang have improved, and resident Baisahan Uxoiar is deeply touched by this progress.

Uxoiar lives in a remote village in the township of Xihxu. One has to climb three snow mountains to reach the village from the township.

"I had never seen a sphygmomanometer before," she said. "But these days, doctors from the township always come over to the village to conduct free physical examinations."

With financial subsidy fund allocated by the central government and investment made by enterprises, Xinjing had extended fiber optic broadband network services to cover all impoverished areas in the region by September, according to the regional communications administration.

Locals in Xinjiang have also bid farewell to bitter and salty water.

The water quality in Payzawat County of Kashgar Prefecture met safe drinking standards in early June, thanks to the safe drinking water project.

Financial support worth over 1.7 billion yuan was granted to build this drinking water project, and pipeline topping 1,800 km in length covers three counties in the region.

After the completion of this project, safe tap water is available in every household across Xinjiang.

"The tap water we drink now tastes as good as bottled water," said Yusup Keyum, a local resident. "Our life is getting sweeter too."