Foreign guests given opportunity to witness decision-making process
Foreign guests praised the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region's approach to opening-up and the Chinese path to democracy, after they were invited, for the first time, to attend the region's annual legislative and political advisory sessions.
"We're very grateful for the invitation. It's a good opportunity to learn about how the things are being done here responsibly by the Communist Party of China and the government," said Sohail Khan, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, after attending the opening ceremony of the second session of the 13th Xinjiang Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Monday morning in Urumqi, the regional capital.
"The session has given a very detailed account of each and every direction that Xinjiang is chalking out in its plan for this year, which includes economy, agriculture and other social uplift programs," he said.
Future 'very bright'
Khan said that everything he heard about the region's governance and management was very informative and instructive, adding, "I think it's very timely to inform us.
"We feel very proud that we are the first group to be here to listen to all these things and see with our own eyes what is happening on the ground here. And we are very confident that the future of Xinjiang is very bright and prosperous," Khan said.
The life of people in Xinjiang is "as good as in Beijing or other cities" in the country, he said.
After learning about how the region's political consultative body functions, the guests from the embassies of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Iran and Belarus, and those from the SCO and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation partnership, as well as foreign reporters, will also attend the opening ceremony of the second session of the 14th Xinjiang People's Congress on Tuesday. During the session, they will learn about how the Xinjiang government performed its duties last year and its plan for this year.
Bilal Mehmood Chaudhary, minister and deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani embassy in China, said it was a new experience for him to know how the whole Chinese decision-making system works.
"I watched all the proceedings with great enthusiasm, and I'm going back with much more information about these unique Chinese characteristics of decision-making."
He said the quality of input and policy proposals made by the speakers was impressive. "It was in-depth and diversified. I think all these proposals were well researched, and a lot of homework went into the formulation of these proposals."
This year's hot topics among political advisers include tourism, the China (Xinjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone, rural vitalization and air pollution control.
From Sunday to Monday, the foreign guests visited Urumqi's Urban Planning Museum, an archives center on urban reconstruction, a community service center and the grassroots contact stations of deputies.
Khan said the whole system of the people's congress is democratic.
"It's very good to get feedback from the grassroots, and from different ethnic groups. It will bring harmony, unity and prosperity to the region," he added.
After learning how a shantytown was changed into a modern area in Urumqi, Desca Lidya Natalia, a journalist from Indonesia's Antara News Agency, said the government makes the utmost efforts to improve the livelihood of people in Xinjiang.
"It's good for me to see by myself what happened here. I think this trip can make me see the real Xinjiang and also hear from the Xinjiang people," Natalia said.
Objective reporting urged
Xu Guixiang, Xinjiang's deputy head of publicity, said the annual two sessions are not only important political events, but also a window of opening-up, as Xinjiang is a core region for the Belt and Road Initiative.
He expressed his hope that foreign guests can better understand the practice of comprehensively implementing people-centered democracy in Xinjiang, the achievements in the economic and social development of Xinjiang, and the changes in the lives of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
"We welcome journalists from around the world to learn about the real Xinjiang and report it in an objective way," he said.