Across China: Former industrial city consolidates ethnic unity
YINCHUAN, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Yin Huaying is the leader of a team of female fashion models consisting of teachers, doctors, librarians and office secretaries, all in their 50's or early 60's and from five ethnic groups.
"The team is one of the vivid activities organized in our community, through which we not only have fun, but also maintain close friendship," said Yin, a 52-year-old office secretary in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The model team belongs to the Tuanjie Community -- which means solidarity -- in the city of Shizuishan. Members of the team practice together once or twice a week and present performances at festivals or in competitions.
Established in 1982, the Tuanjie Community, a modern residential compound, has 3,843 households with 9,506 registered residents, including 785 people from 13 ethnic minorities.
"For over 40 years, residents with different ethnic backgrounds live harmoniously in our community. In festivals of various ethnic groups, the whole community would celebrate together like a big family, exchanging gifts, food and good wishes," said Liu Juju, head of the service center of the Tuanjie Community.
Liu said that the community has been engaging in artistic and literary activities such as dancing, singing, painting and calligraphy, to promote ethnic unity.
The Tuanjie Community is a fine example of the efforts made by Shizuishan to consolidate ethnic unity. The city in north Ningxia used to be one of China's major coal-mining bases.
A former powerhouse for the whole region and the source of nearly 40 percent of its GDP previously, the city's some half-a-million population is made up mostly of former industrial workers and their families.
Since the late 1950s, with the development of coal mining in Shizuishan, workers from all over the country moved to the city, contributing to a new immigrant culture there, while making the city more inclusive and diverse, with over 20 ethnic minorities so far.
"Industrial development has laid a solid economic foundation for the work of ethnic unity in the city of Shizuishan," said Wu Xiaobing, an official for ethnic solidarity work at Dawukou District in Shizuishan.
The city has recently built an ethnic unity exhibition hall at an industrial park which was the site of a coal mine, drawing many visitors.
"People used to care more about things within their own companies or communities, now they have perspectives that stretch wider and farther," said Zhang Mingzhong, the United Front Work Department of the Shizuishan municipal Party committee.