700,000 Poor Residents Relocated Within Western China Since 2000

June 29, 2005

The government has relocated more than 700,000 residents from the poorest areas within western China to newly-constructed residential centers since the Great Western Development (GWD) Campaign began in 2000, according to Du Ping, chief of the general affairs division of the Leading Group for the GWD Campaign. Du announced the figures at the Second International Study Conference on the GWD Campaign on June 21. Government agencies are moving residents from areas with limited prospects for development to residential centers with full access to social services, Du reported. U.S. sources report, however, that many of the poor are forced to move and have not received adequate compensation. Though Du emphasized the voluntary nature of the relocation program and the government's respect for "the folk ways of people from different ethnic groups," international human rights groups contend that minority nationalities are being forced from their land and their traditional cultures destroyed.