Chinese Ethnic Groups：回族（Huí zú ）The Hui ethnic minority
Life in the 20th Century （2）
The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has established a number of modern industries, covering such fields as coal, power, machinery, metallurgy, chemicals, light industry, petroleum and electronics. Industrial and agricultural production in the region has risen continuously since 1979.
The production and livelihood of the Huis in the countryside have improved continuously. Considerable progress has been made by the Huis in farmland capital construction, construction of water conservancy works and mechanized farming. They also have made efforts to fight drought, waterlogging, soil salinization and erosion and sand encroachment of farmland as well as natural calamities. In Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province, irrigated farmland has been increasing year by year as a result of the construction of large-scale key water control projects at Qingtong and Liujia Gorges on the upper reaches of the Yellow River and a series of reservoirs and irrigation canals. Stripe-shaped fields suitable for tractor-ploughing, irrigation and drainage have appeared in quite a few places. The fields will serve as a foundation for the construction of commodity grain production bases.
To improve the situation in the Liupan Mountain area plagued by serious water shortage almost every year, the central government has allocated funds for the construction of pumping projects. These are in Tongxin, Guyuan and Haiyuan and will extract water from the Yellow River and life it step by step onto the age-old dry lands. The projects are expected to solve the problem of drinking water and irrigation water among the broad masses of Hui and Han peoples.
Mechanization of farming has progressed in Hui villages. Farming methods and cultivation techniques, too, have undergone marked improvements.
The Hui people as well as people of other ethnic groups in Ningxia have accumulated rich experience in checking sand erosion by means of afforestation in the course of their protracted struggle against desertization. In 1978, the central government decided to build a large-scale shelter-forest that would run across the length of the autonomous region. The forest belt, when completed, will help control the sand and thus change the climate and other natural conditions of Ningxia. This in turn will speed the modernization of the region's agriculture.
Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, elementary education has on the whole been made universal among the Huis. In Hui-populated areas, the Hui people have set up their own primary and secondary schools in their communities. Their children are able to attend schools close to their homes. They also have their own professors, engineers, doctors, scientists, writers, artists and specialists. In 1958 the first college was founded in the autonomous region. Today, specialized personnel of Hui and other ethnic groups are being trained at Ningxia University, Ningxia Medical College and Ningxia Institute of Agronomy. Ending 1982, the autonomous region had more than 5,000 schools at various levels with a student population of about 800,000.
Numerous fetters that had been forced upon Hui women over the years have been gradually removed as a result of improved education. Secondary and primary schools for female students have been established in some of the Hui-populated areas. An increasing number of Hui women are attending evening schools and schools arranged during slack winter seasons. Having acquired education at varying degrees, many of them are now skilled workers, and more are officials of various levels, as well as actresses, doctors, teachers and engineers.
Mass literary, artistic and sports activities have been spreading among the Huis, resulting in the emergence of outstanding artists and sportsmen. The skills of veteran Hui artisans in producing such traditional special handicrafts as carved ivory, cloisonne, Suzhou embroidery, carved bricks and carpets have been carried on and developed.
Medical and public health establishments have been widely set up in Hui-populated areas. Hui medical workers have been trained in large numbers. In major cities like Beijing and Tianjin, where the concentration of Huis is relatively larger, special hospitals have been provided for them. Mobile medical teams have been organized in some places to tour the countryside and mountainous areas where the Huis live. Many of the local epidemic diseases either have been put under control or eliminated. This, coupled with the improvement of economic and cultural life among the Huis, has greatly raised the general level of their health.