Urumqi still attractive to foreigners

Source: Xinhua [21:23 September 10 2009]

"Urumqi is an interesting place. I like it very much," said Mckay Barrow, an American teaching English in a city with the jitters in the wake of more than 500 hypodermic needle attacks.

"People of different ethnic groups and countries live here together, and civilizations of central China, Buddhism and Islam also coexisted here," Barrow, who moved to Urumqi from North Carolina in the United States last October, said in fluent Chinese.

Barrow, a specialist in anthropology, said he had visited many Chinese cities including Hangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, but he liked Urumqi most, saying the city has valuable materials for his research.

He said he was nervous at first seeing lots of police officers in the street.

"When they smiled to me and said they missed their parents faraway in their hometowns, I realized that they are ordinary people like me and I didn't feel scared anymore," said Barrow, who teaches at the Xinjiang Normal University.

"Any violent attacks on innocent civilians deserve harsh punishment. This is the norm in every country," said Abdulla Habib, who came to Urumqi three years ago from Afghanistan.

"Urumqi is returning to peace. People here can reclaim peace and safety quickly," he said in Arabian.

Fernando Hasa, who has played Brazilian music in a restaurant here for four years, said he planned to move his wife and children to Urumqi next year.

"Some of my friends keep asking me to return to Brazil recently, but I'm confident in the future of Urumqi," said Hasa.

"I hope people of different ethnic groups will be good friends and live together like a big family," he said.