Religious, social freedom in Xinjiang impress Afghan journalists

KABUL, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Two Afghan journalists who visited China recently affirmed that Muslims in the country's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region enjoy religious and social freedom.


File photo: CGTN

"I visited Xinjiang earlier this year. Our visiting team has learned that Muslims in Xinjiang benefit from all religious beliefs with no restrictions. They have mosques and perform their religious obligations freely, including offering prayers," Mansoor Ahmad Faizy, editor-in-chief of the Afghanistan Times, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Faizy described the tour as a great opportunity to obtain a deep and comprehensive understanding about the life of locals in Xinjiang.

"The people are satisfied with China's policy, particularly with regard to Xinjiang's ethnic Muslims," he said.

Regarding the region's re-education centers, Faizy said, "We have visited a center that provides education for people who were reportedly influenced by extremists."

Different from reports found in Western media, Faizy said the students he encountered were provided with professional vocational training, as well as classes in legal knowledge and Mandarin.

"What we (witnessed) in the re-education center was very different from what we heard. The students had a friendly atmosphere, the students were learning ... and they could contact their families freely," he said.

Extremism and terrorism have become a problem in Afghanistan, as well as other countries in the region, in recent years, he said.

Every country has the right to take measures to fight terrorism and extremism, Faizy noted.

Hujjatullah Zia, a local researcher and columnist for Daily Outlook Afghanistan, echoed Faizy's view.

"After our tour of Xinjiang and after talking with Muslims living in the region, my group and I learned that the Muslims living in Xinjiang were satisfied with the policies of the central government, as they were enjoying all religious freedom and social activities," he told Xinhua.

Talking about his visit to re-education centers for local youth, Zia said that he "did not witness any violence or mistreatment ... local officials and teachers were friendly with the students in the re-education centers."

"They will become professional workers in (the) future, as they are learning a lot of professions. I think they will make a good life (for themselves) after rejoining the society," he said.

What's more, he believes that more should be done in Afghanistan to raise public awareness of the true situation for Muslims in China.

"I think the Afghan media should help the Afghan people know and respect the policies of China with regard to ethnic minority groups and their religions," he added.