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Interview: Visit to Xinjiang has profoundly changed my views on it, says Pakistani journalist

(Xinhua)    08:19, August 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- "My impression of Xinjiang was shaped by Western reports, but after I visited Xinjiang, my thoughts have been changed and it is different from what is reported by Western media," said Abrar Nasim Wahla, a producer of Pakistan Television.

Last month, a group of journalists from 24 countries including China, the United States, Russia, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran visited northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at the invitation of China's State Council Information Office.

As a member of the team, Wahla had a chance to interact extensively with local farmers, students, clerics, workers as well as trainees at vocational education and training centers.

Wahla said that the trip left him with a positive impression of Xinjiang.

"Xinjiang has many different ethnic groups and rich and colorful cultures," he told Xinhua in a recent interview, adding that the people in Xinjiang are all nice people enjoying a peaceful life.

He said that infrastructure in Xinjiang, especially in Urumqi, is fantastic with wide roads and numerous skyscrapers. From what he observed, people there really enjoy the benefits brought by the fast development.

"In Western media stories, the Chinese government does not protect the human rights of Muslims and prevents them from doing prayers, but when I talked to Imams, or clerics in English, they said that they can do their prayers freely," the official news channel's producer told Xinhua.

He further said that vocational education and training are an effective and important means to eliminate extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang.

"The vocational education and training will help those people who were once affected by extremism obtain different skills to make a better life and restore their lives," he said.

Wahla said that during his visit to the training centers with his fellow journalists, no trainees in the centers complained to them about their lives in the centers, but expressed their satisfaction with the arrangement. "Their families also feel happy about the arrangement," Wahla told Xinhua.

Wahla said that Pakistan also faces the challenge of terrorism. He added that if anybody breaks the law, the government must carry out countermeasures, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The producer is now busy finishing his documentary based on his Xinjiang visit. He hopes that through his documentary, Pakistanis can get to know the real Xinjiang and rid themselves of the misconceptions created by misleading Western reports.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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