In the last two decades, China's western inland region has largely been left out of the nation's economic boom. While its 355-million population accounts for 28% and its land area for 71% of China's total, the region's share of the national GDP is under 20%. Since 1999, Beijing has implemented the West China Development Program to boost the region's growth. To study the major domestic issues and the global implications of this program, the University of Victoria's Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives organized and hosted a multidisciplinary international conference on March 6–8, 2003. This volume of papers presented at the conference offers perspectives on the issues by leading experts of diversified academic disciplines from China, Canada, the US, and other countries.

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