Gap between eastern and western China still increasing, says official

China’s national strategy to develop the country's western region has led to great progress, but the gap between eastern and western China is still increasing, said Wang Jinxiang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Statistics show that the GDP generated by the country’s western region in 2005 doubled since 2000, with the annual GDP increase reaching 10.6%.
Construction of a number of key projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet railway and the transfer of electricity and gas from western to eastern China has been completed ahead of schedule. Achievements also include the increased forested areas and decreased soil erosion in west China.
However, Wang pointed out that development in western China still faces major challenges, reporting that eastern China reported a 14% rise in GDP during the first quarter of this year, compared to a 12.7% rise in the west. The gap between economic growth in the east and west went up from 0.6 to 1.3 percentage points.
One trillion yuan (125 billion U.S. dollars) has been invested in building infrastructure in western China over the past six years, along with  huge spending in ecosystem rehabilitation and rural improvement.