Turkmen student witnesses China-Central Asia friendship

By Zhang Wenjie, Liu Ning, Deng Jie, Peng Yukai (People's Daily Online) 09:16, May 19, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on May 15 in his reply to a letter from Central Asian students at China University of Petroleum-Beijing (CUP) that the students have witnessed and benefited from China-Central Asia relations and, more importantly, that they have helped boost China-Central Asia relations.

Xi urged them to take an active part in promoting friendships between China and Central Asian countries, carry forward the Silk Road spirit, tell Chinese stories and Central Asian stories well, and act as envoys of friendship and bridges of cooperation.

Bayramdurdyyev Rahman, a Turkmen student at the university, was very excited when he received the reply letter. "We had expectations when we wrote the letter, but we didn't actually expect a reply from President Xi," he said.

"I am a beneficiary of China-Central Asia friendly relations," Rahman told People's Daily Online, explaining that he came to study at the university because of a joint education program between China and Turkmenistan.

Bayramdurdyyev Rahman, a Turkmen student studying at China University of Petroleum-Beijing, reads a book in a study room. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Wenjie)

Starting 2009, Amu Darya River Gas Company affiliated with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and CUP launched a cooperation program to select outstanding high school graduates and send them to study at CUP, hoping to cultivate versatile talent with a global vision, who are proficient in Chinese and are familiar with technologies and Chinese culture.

In 2010, 15 high school graduates from Turkmenistan, including Rahman, were selected to study in China after passing written exams and interviews.

Before coming to China, Rahman hadn't learned the Chinese language and had only heard of Confucius, Jackie Chan, the Great Wall, terracotta warriors, and Chinese tea. In China, he has steeped himself in profound Chinese culture, and he has been living in the country for 13 years.

Rahman has also engaged in student management at CUP thanks to his proficiency in Chinese and familiarity with the university's management system.

Rahman was not as outgoing as he is now when he came to China. With the help of his teachers and classmates, he has gradually adapted to the new environment.

Pursuing a PhD program in Marxism Sinicization at CUP, Rahman is preparing for his PhD dissertation defense.

China has made rapid and remarkable development, and adapting Marxism to the Chinese context is worth learning to understand China's development path, said Rahman.

Turkmenistan is an important hub on the ancient Silk Road, through which commodities from China were transported to Europe. Rahman has witnessed the tangible changes brought to the Chinese and Turkmen peoples by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

"China-Turkmenistan trade has kept growing in recent years, and many Turkmen logistics companies have been willing to do business with China. Many products in my country, including mobile phones, computers, electric appliances, and oil-refining equipment, are made in China," Rahman said.

Rahman has visited many places during his stay in China. He was deeply impressed by Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. "The terracotta warriors are amazing because each of them has a different facial expression," he said.

But it is difficult for Rahman to give an answer on which is his favorite city in China, as he believes that each Chinese city boasts of unique charms.

Rahman will graduate from CUP this year. "I have been living in China for 13 years. I have a strong allegiance to CUP. Although I still stay at the university, I have begun to miss it," he said.

Noting that President Xi's reply letter will become his most memorable experience and most treasured memory during his studies in China, Rahman said he hopes to make contributions to the cooperation between China and Central Asian countries.

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Du Mingming)


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