In less than a month, 1,028 Japanese tourists have applied for a trip to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region after the pandemic, showing a great enthusiasm for Xinjiang in Japan regardless that some right-wing Japanese politicians tried to smear the activity to dissuade Japanese people from applying.
The Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka issued a notice on December 2, 2021, to invite people from Japan to travel to Xinjiang after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak. The invitation sparked wide attention in Japanese media.
Xinjiang is a good place, but in recent years, slanders and lies about Xinjiang have emerged one after another causing great misunderstanding and harming the image of Xinjiang and China, Xue Jian, Chinese Consul General in Osaka, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
By inviting the Japanese people for a trip to Xinjiang, Xue said, the activity wants to enhance mutual understanding and welcome more and more people to travel to the region.
Xue said that the start of the trip to Xinjiang depends on the pandemic. The consulate will be prepared to realize the trip as soon as possible after the pandemic comes to an end.
According to the Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka, the trip would not be carried out immediately due to the pandemic. They will communicate with the Xinjiang regional government over a possible schedule for the trip and try their best to meet the participants' requirements.
The consulate-general also mentioned that the travel is at the participants' own expense but they can also apply for financial support with the consulate. Xue also refused to let any Japanese media to be part of the visiting group as they have released a considerable number of malicious reports about Xinjiang, noting that participants would be allowed to release information during the trip on social media platforms.
However, Japanese media can submit an application if they want to join the trip which will be judged according to the situation, the consul general said.
The activity triggered heated discussion on Japanese social media. Some Japanese netizens were surprised that more than 1,000 locals applied in such a short time. Several said that they wanted to travel from Shanghai to Urumqi by train, along the modern Silk Road. Others said that they felt regret to have missed the opportunity this time.
Some Japanese netizens also slammed a number of their compatriots for smearing and slandering Xinjiang, saying it is a dangerous signal that more and more Japanese media are losing their bottom lines and are only producing anti-China propaganda.
Over the past few years, more than 1,000 diplomats and journalists from over 100 countries and regions have visited Xinjiang. China said on many occasions that it welcomes more foreigners who are interested in Xinjiang to visit, see with their own eyes the development and changes in the region, and feel the real Xinjiang.
The activity of the Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka poked the soft spot of anti-China forces in Japan as they fear their lies of smearing Xinjiang would be exposed.
Takashi Nagao, a former member of the Japanese House of Representatives, posted on December 5, 2021 on his Twitter account asking "can I return to Japan alive after attending the activity?"
Xue responded on Twitter saying that Nagao could apply for the event but instead of worrying about whether he can return to Japan, he should worry about whether he can stand in shock seeing all the lies on China's Xinjiang being smashed after visiting Xinjiang.