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Friendly and peaceful country -- the story of China and me

My name is Hussein Mustafa, I am 70 years old and I am from Kuwait. After graduating from high school in Kuwait, I went to the UK to study engineering, and then I went to the United States to study. After returning to Kuwait, I worked at the Kuwait Academy of Sciences for 19 years. Since 1994, my children and I have visited China many times, and fell in love with this country with a great and ancient civilization, and had the idea of settling down in China.

In 1998, I decided to go to Beijing with my children and migrate to China. At that time, China was not as developed as it is today, and the wages for working in China were not very good, too. Some people said I was crazy, but I am sure this is one of the most correct decisions in my life.

During stay in China, I taught engineering and English in universities. I have made many friends, many of them are my students. We often eat together, visit each others’ homes, and they even invited me to their weddings. They respect teachers and establish a very deep friendship with me. So far, I have visited 96 cities, big and small,in the north and south of China, met many Chinese people of different ethnic groups, and am deeply impressed.

There is such a thing that I still remember. In 1998, I was once on business in Lanzhou, a city in northwest China. One day I met a Chinese on the car, and he asked me where I came from. When he knew I'm kuwaitis, he invited me to his home for lunch. Though hesitated, I accepted his invitation on his insistence. His family are all Muslims and they were very friendly to me, served me with local delicious food, and gave me very precious Chinese tea as gift before leaving. I was so flattered, I thanked him and said that I had been well received, and thus could not accept such an expensive gift. But the host said that when he went for hajj to Saudi Arabia about 30 years ago, he went to Kuwait first and then went to Saudi Arabia by land. During in Kuwait, there was also a Kuwaiti family. Although they did not know him and did not speak his language, they generously invited him to their home and offered him a lot of help. So when he heard that I was from Kuwait, he was very happy and finally had the opportunity to repay the kindness of his friends in Kuwait.

The northwest China is the main settlement of Chinese Muslims, the aforementioned Lanzhou is one of them. Another famous place is Xinjiang. I have been to Xinjiang many times, worshiped with hundreds of locals at mosques and enjoyed halal food in halal restaurants. I never realized that there was a problem with people’s freedom of religion. Not only that, as a Muslim, I also felt full religious freedom in other parts of China. There are many mosques and even Muslim-populated areas in China from south to north and east to west. They can celebrate their festivals and fulfill their religious obligations. But in recent years, some Kuwaiti friends have worried about my situation in China and asked me if I have also suffered unfair treatment or even "religious oppression", because they have seen similar reports in some media, but this is a great misunderstanding and slander of China’s treatment of Muslims.

China is a peaceful country. Among the many countries I have been to, not every country can give me this sense of peace. But in 2016, during my business trip in Xinjiang, I was shocked that one day a violent terrorist case happened, causing many casualties. From the next day, the local security department took strict inspection and security measures. Some Muslims complained to me that the measures brought inconvenience to life. I told them it was for your safety.

Now I have lived in China for 23 years, bought an apartment in Beijing, and my child Yunus graduated from China Medical University and returned to work and life in Kuwait, and my another child Yusuf has also obtained a PhD from the Capital Medical University. As a Kuwaiti, I am proud of my country, but I also love my life in China. In recent years, the exchanges between Kuwait and China have become more frequent, but I don’t think that’s enough. Many Kuwaiti people know the United States and Europe, but they still lack a comprehensive understanding of China, a country with a great civilization and a pivotal position in the world. We need to constantly strengthen our contact with China, especially to experience the rapid development and change of China. At the same time, China’s high level of educational quality, especially the development of higher education, has promoted China’s international status. Kuwait can learn from China's experience in science, technology, engineering and medicine. Only in this way, we can carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Kuwait from generation to generation.