A total of 439 officials from several Communist Party of China (CPC) and central government departments flew from Beijing to Urumqi on Thursday to begin a three-year mission to assist in the development of southwest China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Before their departure, the officials went through a five-day training course where they learned about Xinjiang's developmental policies, ethnicities and religions. The officals marked the seventh batch of officials sent by the central government to serve in the region. Over 3,700 officials have been sent to the region so far. The government has been implementing a series of projects and policies to support economic and social development in Xinjiang, including a "pairing assistance" program. The program, which was unveiled by the central government at a high-level meeting in March of last year, requires 19 provinces and municipalities to support Xinjiang in building new infrastructure and promoting local industry.