Xinjiang deputies thrilled to meet president


Hours after meeting with President Xi Jinping, deputies from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region still could not contain their excitement on Friday afternoon.

Abudulrekep Tumniaz, a religious leader from Xinjiang, said he would deliver Xi's regards to the family of an imam who was murdered for standing against religious extremism.

"When he (Xi) shook hands with me, he asked me to send his regards to the family of Jume Tahir, and to take good care of myself," said Abudulrekep. Xi joined a panel discussion of Xinjiang deputies to the National People's Congress during its annual session on Friday morning.

Jume, imam of the biggest mosque in Xinjiang, was stabbed to death in 2014 outside the mosque in southern Xinjiang's city of Kashgar.

"I was really touched that Xi still thinks of Jume and his family," said Abudulrekep, who is president of the Xinjiang Islamic Institute. He told Xi about the institute's expansion project that will recruit more students at the end of this year.

"It was a happy moment that I will never forget," said Memetyibreyim Memetimin, a village official from southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture.

He handed Xi a photo of the descendants of Kurban Tulumu, a well-known Uygur who planned to ride his donkey to Beijing from Hotan to meet Chairman Mao Zedong to show his appreciation for the significant improvement in his life after the founding of the New China in 1949. His wish finally came true in 1958.

"I told the president that Kurban's descendants are living in happiness," Memetyibreyim said. "I'm so proud to be the new Kurban."

Rehangul Yimir, 28, the youngest deputy of the Xinjiang delegation, handed Xi a traditional Uygur flat hat as a gift from the delegation.

"I had prepared a speech, but I decided instead to say something from the bottom of my heart," the township official said. "I told him about the changes in the villages in southern Xinjiang and my transformation from a factory girl to a township official."

Muhtabai Shadik, a bank branch manager in Urumqi, said: "There's a Uygur saying about the importance of ethnic unity - Harmony can bring success and unity can boost strength. It is so true."

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