"A foreigner, but not an outsider" -- a young Kazakh in Xi's speech on China-Central Asia ties

(Xinhua) 17:00, January 29, 2022

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- "I am a foreigner, but I am not an outsider."

These words of Ismail Daurov, a Kazakh student who became a volunteer helping with the local anti-pandemic response in the city of Xi'an in China's Shaanxi Province, were quoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his speech on Tuesday at a virtual summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and five Central Asian countries.

The young Kazakh's words "have touched the hearts of many in China," Xi said, adding, "It is heartwarming episodes like this one that have formed a stirring symphony of China and Central Asian people supporting each other through thick and thin."

Learning that Xi mentioned his name in the monumental event where the heads of state of the six countries met altogether for the first time in 30 years, Daurov said he felt "very honored and very happy."

"I'm deeply moved by the solidarity and friendship of the Chinese people," the young man having been living in China for almost a decade told Xinhua in Chinese.

Daurov's father runs a small acupuncture clinic with some friends in his hometown in Kazakhstan. Witnessing more and more patients being cured with traditional Chinese medicine, Daurov made up his mind as a little child that he would go to China to study and acquire this expertise.

But things were quite tough for the young student in his early days in a foreign country. Daurov, who has a Chinese name Ma Wenxuan, speaks fluent Chinese, and is now studying for his master's degree in acupuncture and massage at Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, once had a difficult time reading ancient Chinese medical texts.

"Those texts, such as Huangdi Neijing, are full of traditional Chinese characters which I am not at all familiar with," Daurov said. "But my Chinese classmates have offered me great help. They turned those traditional Chinese characters into simplified Chinese, and walked me through the text."

Within years, Daurov has not only grown up to be a student who is "studious, patient and meticulous" in the eyes of his tutor Professor Li Yongfeng, but also an enthusiastic young man who has spent much time on local charitable work.

When Xi'an faced a COVID-19 resurgence in December last year, Daurov became one of the first responders, signing up to be a volunteer in a local community to help with nucleic acid tests, maintain public order, and move daily necessities around.

"I was taking a nucleic acid test in my neighborhood and found that there were not many healthcare workers on the scene. Then I thought: I'm a medical student. Why not offer help?" Daurov said.

"Shaanxi is my second hometown. And just as I said, I'm a foreigner, but not an outsider," he said.

Daurov has returned to campus as the latest epidemic wave basically died down in Shaanxi. He has been living a fulfilling life during this winter break, doing clinic with his tutor, having video calls with his parents, reading books in classrooms, and sharing his learning experience with other international students who stayed.

So far, there have been around 80 international students studying in Daurov's university, around 30 percent of them from such Central Asian countries as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

"Both my Chinese friends and my international schoolmates have provided me with much help and more opportunities to experience different cultures and get to know the wider world," he said.

During his speech on Tuesday, Xi noted that China and the five Central Asian countries, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, have enhanced mutual understanding and affinity through mutual exchanges.

"The 58 pairs of sister cities and the hundreds of thousands of mutual visits every year help carry forward a friendship of over 2,000 years between the people of our countries," Xi said.

"I know President Xi cares much about the communication among youths between China and the five countries in Central Asia," Daurov said, echoing Xi's remarks in the speech that "youth represents the future of a country."

The young Kazakh said he believes many other students from Central Asian countries also see China as their second home, just like him.

"We all love traditional Chinese medicine and are willing to contribute to the friendly exchanges between China and Central Asian countries," he added. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


Related Stories