URUMQI, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Scholars from seven countries visited Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from July 12 to 14 at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the trip, eight scholars from France, Italy, Poland, New Zealand, Russia, Pakistan and Thailand visited various places across the autonomous region and interacted extensively with local residents.
"It is very good news that no violent terrorist activities have been reported in Xinjiang over the past three years," said Ruth Imberton, a researcher at the Institut Schiller France when visiting an exhibition on major terrorist cases in Urumqi.
"The violent terrorist activities that once happened here are similar to what happened in Europe years back. But now I see a rapidly developing and socially inclusive Xinjiang," said Francesca Manenti, a researcher at the Centro Studi Internazionali, Italy.
At a vocational education and training center in Turpan, they talked with trainees who had just had a law class.
"The teaching equipment here is pretty advanced. I can tell that they are having a good time here," said Adam Ludwiczak, a board member of the Polish House.
"People here were so hospitable and kind. You could see light-hearted smiles everywhere," said Andrei Ostrovskii, deputy head of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.
"I've seen it with my owns eyes that the Chinese government respects the religious freedom of their people," said Sultan Mahmood Hali, a commentator at Pakistan Television Corporation, when visiting a mosque. "As a Muslim myself, I condemn terrorism and religious extremism that pose a threat to Xinjiang."
Kavi Chongkittavorn, a researcher at the Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University of Thailand took a high-speed train from Turpan to Urumqi. Recalling the memory of his last visit to Xinjiang 28 years ago, he said it was admirable that China invested so heavily to develop its western areas.
David Bromwich, president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, said that it was necessary to take some measures such as what Xinjiang is doing right now to ensure the safety of the people.
"I'm going to tell more New Zealanders about what I saw from the visit, a real Xinjiang that they need to know," he said.