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Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
XJBT cities in yellow
Active1954 – present
Country People's Republic of China
Allegiance Chinese Communist Party
TypeState-owned enterprise
Paramilitary organisation
Size2.6 million
Headquarters and area servedÜrümqi & Xinjiang
Bingtuan ("The Corps")
Divisions14 Edit this at Wikidata
First Political CommissarMa Xingrui
Political Commissar and Party SecretaryLi Yifei
CommanderXue Bin
Tao Zhiyue[1]
Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese新疆生产建设兵团
Traditional Chinese新疆生產建設兵團
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese新疆兵团
Traditional Chinese新疆兵團
Second alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese兵团
Traditional Chinese兵團
Literal meaningThe Corps
China Xinjian Group
Simplified Chinese中国新建集团
Traditional Chinese中國新集團
Uyghur name
Uyghurشىنجاڭ ئىشلەپچىقىرىش قۇرۇلۇش بىڭتۇەنى‎
12th company, 150th regiment, 8th division, Xinjiang production and Construction Corps

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XJBT; 新疆生产建设兵团; 新疆兵团), also known as Bingtuan ("The Corps"), trading as the external name China Xinjian Group,[2] is a state-owned enterprise and paramilitary organization in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The XJBT was established in 1954 under the orders of Mao Zedong, and developed sparsely populated areas in its early decades, taking the model of the traditional tuntian system of setting military units in frontier areas. The XJBT was severely damaged during the Cultural Revolution, and was outright abolished in 1975, before being re-established in 1981, partly due to the Soviet-Afghan War. It re-established its economic dominance over Xinjiang afterwards, also being responsible for maintenance against the "three evils" (separatism, religious extremism, and terrorism). In its history, the XJBT has built farms, towns, and cities, provided land and employment to disbanded military units, and re-settled Han migrants from other parts of China in what has been called a campaign of assimilation.

The XJBT operates cities, where it provides prisons, healthcare, policing, judiciary, and education, and has stakes in numerous publicly traded companies. It is extensively involved in economic, political and military affairs of Xinjiang, being called a "state in a state".[3][4] It is led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Xinjiang Committee secretary, currently Ma Xingrui, though the CCP secretary of the XJBT handles the daily affairs of the organization.[citation needed]


See also: Migration to Xinjiang

The XJBT draws from the traditional Chinese tuntian system, a policy of settling military units in frontier areas so that they become self-sufficient in food, and similar policies in the Tang and Qing dynasties.[5] Construction corps were set up for sparsely populated frontier regions, including Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang.

After the Chinese Communist Party took control of Xinjiang in 1949, People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces deployed into Xinjiang were commanded to start production in the area. In 1953, PLA there were separated into National Defense and Production Divisions. XJBT was formed from soldiers from First Field Army, Kuomintang,[5] and from the local Ili National Army.[6]

In October 1954 the Production Division was ordered by the Mao Zedong to form People's Liberation Army Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, tasked to "Integrate labor with violent, colonize and populate the frontier" in 1954.[7][1][8] XJBT was founded by Wang Zhen. It initially comprised 175,000 military personnel, led by Tao Zhiyue as its first commander.[6]

XJBT was initially focused on settling, cultivating, and developing sparsely populated areas, such as the fringes of the Taklamakan Desert and the Gurbantünggüt Desert, under the principle of "not competing for benefits with the local people".[9] It provided a reserve military force, although they were not called upon.[6][5] XJBT was expanded by youth from other parts of China, to equalize its sex ratio and include members with better education. In 1962, after the Sino-Soviet split, rioting occurred in Yining and 60,000 ethnic minorities living near the border fled to the Soviet Union. The Chinese government feared that the USSR was trying to destabilize China[5] and start a war.[6] XJBT was ordered to cultivate the farms of the exiles.[6] By 1966 XJBT had a population of 1.48 million.

The XJBT was severely damaged by the Cultural Revolution. In 1975 it was abolished completely. Its powers were transferred to the government of Xinjiang and regional authorities.[9] After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and the Islamic movements gained force, fears of Soviet encirclement and Islamic fundamentalism led to the re-establishment of the XJBT in 1981[9] as well as the cultivation of frontier lands and economic development.[9] During the 1990s, XJBT began to contribute significantly to Xinjiang's economy, producing 40% of the region's cotton in 1997.[10] After 2008, as a result of improvements in farm mechanization, students were no longer compelled to pick the cotton crop.[11]

Starting in the 1980s, a stated task has been to prevent and break down "destructive activities of the three forces", (separatism, religious extremism, and terrorism), in order to protect social stability and national unity.[7] In 2012, XJBT generated 11.1 billion yuan from the 37 settlements they control, "allowing the Corps to spread advanced culture and Chinese culture, while taking in and infusing culture of ethnic minority in Xinjiang".[7]

At the end of the 20th century, XJBT's military role was given instead to the Xinjiang Military District, a part of the current Western Theater Command that includes all of western China. XJBT military personnel are mostly reservists or militia.[citation needed]


United States

See also: Persecution of Uyghurs in China, Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and United States sanctions against China

XJBT was sanctioned by the United States in 2020, citing alleged human rights abuses. United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Commissioner Nury Turkel remarked "Now, no business can claim ignorance of China's oppression of the Uyghur people. We hope the sanctions signal to other Chinese officials that there are costs associated with taking part in the Communist Party's repression of religion. The world is watching and we know which officials and entities are responsible for the abuses against the Uyghur people."[12] She added:

The XPCC is essentially a parallel government in Xinjiang and has been directly involved in implementing the surveillance, mass detention, and forced labor of Uyghurs.[13]

In July 2020, the United States announced Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on XJBT in connection with human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.[14][13][15] XJBT was alleged to run many internment camps,[16] as well as implementing the CCP's efforts to settle ethnic Han in the region.[17][15]

In December 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that XJBT-produced cotton and cotton products would be prohibited from import into the U.S. due to forced labor concerns.[18] In June 2021, the United States Department of Commerce placed XJBT on the Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List.[19]


Following the U.S. footsteps, Global Affairs Canada imposed sanctions against the XJBT in January 2021 due to human rights abuses.[20]

European Union

In March 2021, the Council of the European Union listed the XJBT public security bureau as an entity subject to restrictive measures.[21] The reason given for this listing was that this entity is "responsible for serious human rights violations, in particular large-scale arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment inflicted upon Uyghurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities".[22]

Organization and function

The XJBT is a ministerial-level institution under the State Council and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region regional government.[23] It has administrative authority over medium-sized cities, settlements and farms in Xinjiang. It provides services such as healthcare, policing, judiciary, and education. Nominally subject to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, its internal affairs, including city and reclaimed land administration, are separate from that of the Autonomous Region and under direct control of the central government. The XJBT has been described to operate as a "state within a state"[24][25][26] and has been considered by scholars as acting as a de facto prefecture-level governmental entity.[26]

The XJBT's internal affairs, including the administration of its cities and reclaimed land, is separate from that of the Autonomous Region and under direct control of the central government.[27] It has sub-provincial powers on par with sub-provincial cities. The XJBT is headed by the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, who is "executive political commissar" ex officio. The XJBT's own party secretary, usually a ministerial-level official,[23] typically concurrently serves as its political commissar and acts as its highest day-to-day authority, and is considered to be the second most-powerful person in Xinjiang after the CCP secretary.[28] Additionally XJBT has a commander, usually a deputy-ministerial level official.[23]

Headquartered in Ürümqi, XJBT is subdivided into divisions, then regiments. Each XJBT division corresponds to a prefecture-level administrative division, and are in themselves of sub-prefectural rank. In addition to regiments, the XJBT also administers regiment-level farms and ranches. XJBT and each individual division are headed by three leaders: a first political commissar, a political commissar, and a commander. The first political commissars of each XJBT division are their committee secretaries.[citation needed]

Administrative structure

The XJBT's 14 divisions which are then subdivided into 185 regiment-level entities (including regiments, farms, and ranches), scattered throughout Xinjiang, mostly in previously unpopulated or sparsely populated areas.

The divisions are:

Name Founded Location (approximate) Headquarters
1st Division 1953 Aksu Prefecture Aral
2nd Division 1953 Bayingolin Autonomous Prefecture Tiemenguan
3rd Division 1966 Kashgar Prefecture Tumxuk
4th Division 1953 Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture
(southern, directly administered portion)
5th Division 1953 Bortala Autonomous Prefecture Shuanghe
6th Division 1953 Changji Autonomous Prefecture Wujiaqu
7th Division 1953 Ili Autonomous Prefecture
and Karamay
8th Division 1953 area east of Karamay Shihezi
9th Division 1962 Tacheng Prefecture Emin County
10th Division 1959 Altay Prefecture Beitun
11th Division
the former Construction Division
1953 Ürümqi Xinshi, Ürümqi
12th Division 1982 Ürümqi Ürümqi
13th Division 1982 Hami Hami
14th Division 1982 Hotan Prefecture Kunyu

In May 1953, the PLA's 25th, 26th and 27th Divisions from the 9th Corps were reorganized as 7th, 8th and 9th Agriculture Construction Division of the XJBT, respectively.[citation needed]


The XJBT has settled Han in Xinjiang[29] and has built eleven medium-sized cities during its history, and now controls ten of them.[30] The governments of these cities are combined entirely with the division that controls them. For example, the division headquarters is the same entity as the city government, the division political commissar the same person as the city committee secretary, the division commander the same person as the city's mayor, and so forth. Ten XJBT-administered cities are nominally listed as "sub-prefectural-level cities" of Xinjiang, but the local government is usually not involved in the administration of these cities.

Name Dates of official
designation as a "city"
Governing period Division
Kuytun[6] 奎屯市 August 29, 1975 1953–1975 7th
Tianbei New Area 天北新区 - 2002–2019
Shihezi[9] 石河子市 January 2, 1976 1953–1975, 1980–present 8th
Aral 阿拉尔市 January 19, 2004 1953–1975, 1980–present 1st
Wujiaqu[9] 五家渠市 January 19, 2004 1953–1975, 1980–present 6th
Tumxuk 图木舒克市 January 19, 2004 1966–1975, 1980–present 3rd
Beitun 北屯市 November 28, 2011 2002–present 10th
Tiemenguan 铁门关市 December 30, 2012 2002–present 2nd
Shuanghe 双河市 February 26, 2014 2002–present 5th
Kokdala 可克达拉市 March 18, 2015 2003–present 4th
Kunyu 昆玉市 January 20, 2016 2003–present 14th
Huyanghe 胡杨河市 December 6, 2019 2010–present 7th
Xinxing 新星市 February 4, 2021 2010–present 13th
Baiyang 白杨市 January 20, 2023 2010–present 9th
Beiting 北亭市 TBD 2010–present 12th


Parts of this article (those related to recent population numbers and trends – they have yearly official reports, see e.g. 2017) need to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2022)

XJBT is predominantly composed of Chinese citizens of Han ethnicity.[23] While the Han are by far the largest group of XJBT workers, their relative numbers have declined: from 1980 to 1993 the overall population remained constant, while Han membership declined slightly from 90% to 88%.[5]

Ethnic groups in XJBT, 2002 estimate[31]
Nationality Population Percentage
Han 2,204,500 88.1
Uyghur 165,000 6.6
Hui 64,700 2.6
Kazakh 42,700 1.7
Mongol 6,200 0.3
Others 18,100 0.7

Economic activity

XJBT created many publicly traded subsidiary companies.[32] XJBT uses the name "China Xinjian Group" for its economic activities.[9] XJBT plays an outsized role in Xinjiang's economy, with the organization producing CN¥350 billion (US$52 billion), or around 19.7% of Xinjiang's economy, while the per capita GDP was CN¥98,748 (US$14,680).[33][non-primary source needed] The area and population of the XJBT are generally given as part of Xinjiang's total figures, but XJBT's GDP is generally reported separately.[34]

XJBT's primary economic activity remains agriculture, including cotton, fruit, vegetables, food crops, vegetable oils, and sugar beets. Important products are cotton, tomatoes, ketchup, Korla pears, Turpan grapes, and wine. In 2018 the XJBT produced 30% of China's cotton output.[26] XJBT has a mix of factory farming and smaller farms. XJBT dominates Xinjiang's agriculture and controls nearly a quarter of Xinjiang's arable land.[30][35] During its history, XJBT established significant mining and mining-related industries, most of which subsequently were handed over to the Xinjiang government. XJBT is also involved in tertiary industries, including trade, distribution, real estate, tourism, construction and insurance.[30]


The XJBT has thousands of subsidiary companies. The Center for Advanced Defense Studies has identified 2,923 subsidiaries.[36] Currently the XJBT has eleven publicly traded subsidiaries.[citation needed] They are:

Education and media

XJBT operates its own educational system covering primary, secondary and tertiary education (including two universities, Shihezi University (石河子大学) and Tarim University (塔里木大学)); its own daily newspaper, Bingtuan Daily; and its own TV stations at both provincial and division levels.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Tao Zhiyue 1892 - 1988)" in James Z. Gao: Historical Dictionary of Modern China (1800–1949), p. 358, 2009, Scarecrow Press
  2. ^ "Establishment, Development and Role of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps". China Internet Information Center. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  3. ^ Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany (26 July 2022). "Xinjiang paramilitary group plays "critical role" in Uyghur repression, report finds". Axios. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
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  • Originally translated from the Chinese Wikipedia article
  • Becquelin, Nicolas. "Xinjiang in the Nineties." The China Journal, no. 44 (2000): 65–90.
  • Desai, Sohum, Study of the Infrastructure of Xinjiang, Security Research Review.
  • McMillen, Donald H. "Xinjiang and the Production and Construction Corps: A Han Organisation in a Non-Han Region." The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, no. 6 (1981): 65–96.
  • O'Neill, Mark, "The Conqueror of China's Wild West" Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Asia Sentinel, 13 April 2008.
  • For additional information, see James D. Seymour, "Xinjiang's Production and Construction Corps, and the Sinification of Eastern Turkestan", Inner Asia, 2, 2000, pp. 171–193.