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- President Xi Jinping extended a welcome to study in China to youth from other countries who excel, encouraging them to get to know more about the country and tell the world what they have observed.
- He said he also hoped that foreign students will communicate more with their Chinese peers and join hands with youth from around the world to promote people-to-people connectivity and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
- Xi made the remarks in a letter of reply on Sunday to 52 Pakistani students attending the University of Science and Technology Beijing.
- In their letter, the students shared with Xi their experience and feelings as foreign students in China. They expressed appreciation for the care and assistance they have received from the school since the COVID-19 outbreak, and pledged to devote themselves to building the Belt and Road and contribute to facilitating Pakistan-China friendship after graduation.
- Learning that the students have not only enriched their knowledge but also made many Chinese friends while at the university, Xi said he felt glad for their achievements.
- The president said that after the novel coronavirus outbreak, just as the Pakistani students said, the Chinese government and schools have been concerned about the lives and health of foreign students in China and provided all-around support.
- Life is the top priority, he said, adding that the Chinese government and people have treated foreigners in the country the same as Chinese nationals and made no exception in offering them care and love.
- Xi also said in the letter that he had learned that many foreign students in China have expressed support for the Chinese people in different ways during China’s battle with the virus.
- True friendship comes out in difficult times, he said, adding that China will continue to provide various kinds of help to foreign students in China.
- Ali Khan, now in the third year of his doctorate in information and communication engineering, was one of the students who wrote the letter.
- “We wanted to thank China for everything and show solidarity during this hard time. We were not sure whether our letter would be delivered to the president. But we wanted to give it a try,” he said, adding that the students’ feeling of joy cannot be expressed in words after receiving the reply letter from Xi.
- Jean-Yves Lavoie, a Canadian graduate student in international studies at Renmin University of China, said he has witnessed the very same kindness and understanding reflected in Xi’s letter as he remained in China during the pandemic and volunteered in his community.
- “As President Xi said, it is during difficult times that you find who your true friends are. People have truly gone to great lengths to help each other and facilitate life during this pandemic, and this same care and responsibility has clearly been extended to people of other nationalities as well,” he said.
- According to the Ministry of Education, about 500,000 students from nearly 200 countries and regions are studying in China.
- Zhou Jin contributed to this story.