JAKARTA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Former Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Fahri Hamzah has said that he was surprised at Xinjiang's economic and social development after he visited Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang.
"I visited Xinjiang for the first time and was surprised," he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview here Tuesday. "The fact in the province ... could change the negative perception about local people, who are considered still living in hardships."
Hamzah, who led a delegation to visit Xinjiang in November, said that infrastructure such as high-speed railway has already been opened in Urumqi, with local people's travel convenience better than those in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia.
Xinjiang is "a center of peace," said Hamzah, adding that there are indicators showing that such a condition, including the facts that people there look happy, businesses are developing well and schools are clean.
On the people-to-people relations between Indonesia and China, Hamzah said the two countries should take joint measures especially in the tourism sector.
Under the motto of "seeing is believing," Hamzah said he still wanted to visit Xinjiang especially its border area, and other cities like Xi'an, capital of northwest Shaanxi Province, where he hopes to try various kinds of traditional foods including the halal dishes.
Hamzah was elected to Indonesian parliament three times in 2004, 2009 and 2014, respectively, and from October 2014 to October 2019, he served as deputy speaker of parliament. In October, he participated in the establishment of a new political party called the Gelora Party, and served as its vice chairman.