AbstractThe Chinese economy has been one of the world’s most rapid growing in recent years. Within the Chinese population though, there has been a rising income disparity. China is now faced with the same problem as many other developing countries; the difficult balance between economic growth and equity. The economic disparity has been particularly obvious between the underdeveloped west and the developed eastern coast, but the differences between urban and rural areas is even more alarming. The Chinese government has tried to address the income disparity with the implementation of a policy for development and opening up of the western area. In Chinese the policy is known as xibu dakaifa, but in this thesis referred to as “the development of the west policy.” Ever since the launch of the policy in the beginning of 2000 there have been discussions of what the main aims of this policy are, and how the implementation of it is planned. In this thesis I try to analyse the policy and detect its main goals, despite its rather unclear feature. With the complexity of the development concept and development theories as a background I try to give an outline of the policy and major discussions regarding its aims. In order to get more detailed and real-life information I have chosen to focus on one area within the western region. Recent development in Kangding in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is used as a local example of the implementation of the policy. The people of Kangding live in an area which is both rural, poor, dominated by minorities and situated in the west and thus give a valuable insight into the workings of the policy. In addition to the aim of getting an overview of the development of the west policy essential questions in this thesis are: who is the development of the west policy primarily working for, and can the development of the west policy be seen as working for equitable development?