By Javed Akhtar
BEIJING, January 9 (INP): Diplomats from Pakistan and other regional countries lauded the growing peace and stability in the China’s Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, diplomat from the Pakistan Embassy in China accompanied the diplomats from other eleven countries visiting vocational training and education centers in the area.
What they saw during the visit was opposite to some Western media’s reports, and Xinjiang is going through an effective way to counter extremism and terrorism, she said while talking with the local media.
At the invitation of the Xinjiang government, diplomats from Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Thailand and Kuwait visited Xinjiang.
These diplomats visited the vocational training and education centers in Kashi, where trainees were learning Putonghua, national laws and regulations, and vocational skills.
Diplomats asked about the life of the trainees in the centers, played ping-pong and basketball with them on the playground, and watched a singing and dancing performance of the trainees.
Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun said that the education centers in Xinjiang have impressed him and trainees can learn national laws and the Uyghur culture.
He said that trainees seemed to be in good spirits. He hoped they could learn more vocational skills and become useful people in society.
During their visit to the education center in Hotan, the diplomat from Kazakhstan received a New Year gift. A trainee, Mehmet Isamati gave an oil painting to the diplomat.
The diplomat said that he saw the Chinese government and regional government in Xinjiang have created good conditions for trainees and they have rich food as well as time for sports.
Sayed, the diplomat from the Afghanistan Embassy in China, who has visited Xinjiang many times, was surprised to find during this visit that residents in southern Xinjiang, who used to idle around, now are busy studying and working, which is a good phenomenon.
He said that training for vocational skills would help enhance many people’s lives and what he saw in Xinjiang is opposite to many reports of the Western media.
Every country has an employment problem and de-extremism problem. China’s Xinjiang is seeking an effective way to deal with these issues, which other countries can learn from, he said.
Aside from visiting the education centers, diplomats also visited the Grand Bazaar in Urumqi and the Islamic Institute in Xinjiang.
In the Grand Bazaar, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the diplomat from the Pakistan Embassy in China, met a Pakistani businessman, Asmu, who sells jewelry in the bazaar.
Asmu told the diplomat that society in Xinjiang has become more stable in recent years, and his business is booming with more tourists coming to Xinjiang.
“I live in Urumqi now and married a Uyghur girl. And we have children now. We are living a happy life!” Asmu said.
During their visit to China’s largest mosque, the Id Kah Mosque in Kashi, the diplomats learned that the mosque has installed heating equipment, and facilities for believers to wash their hands, and it offers water to drink.
The diplomat from the Malaysian Embassy in China said that he saw the Chinese government’s efforts in protecting religious freedom and religious groups have a place for religious activities. Like other countries, religious activities have been protected in China. The visit to Xinjiang has given him a new chance to know the place and the reports from some Western media on Xinjiang were false, the diplomat said.
Li Wei, a Beijing-based anti-terrorism expert, who was invited to visit the education centers in Xinjiang in November, told the Global Times that many of the 12 countries face the threat of extremism similar to Xinjiang and the visit of the diplomats to the centers would facilitate exchanges on de-extremism measures.
“Xinjiang’s de-extremism measures have taken effect and helped to build a stable society. While many other countries, which have been suffering from extremism and terrorism, have yet to find an effective way,” Li said.
No violent incidents happened in 23 months, which is considered an achievement of Xinjiang’s current de-extremism efforts, experts said.
It seems that none of the 15 countries, whose ambassadors in Beijing spearheaded by Canada sought a meeting with the top official of Xinjiang, was in the visit to the training centers.
In response to possible reasons, Li said “It would not benefit global cooperation on anti-terrorism and de-extremism if some Western countries keep holding a bias against China. Nothing in Xinjiang is sensitive when our measures in the place are aimed at protecting the people’s security and interests.”