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Rising Uygur deputy and her Two Sessions journey


03-16-2017 17:19 BJT

Full coverage: 2017 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

When Rehangul Yimir came to Beijing to attend her first National People’s Congress (NPC) session in 2013, she was the youngest deputy from the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.

She was so afraid of being late to her meetings that she dared not sleep at night.

Now, with five years of experience behind her, Rehangul says, “Coming to Beijing for the Two Sessions is like going to my parents’ home.” With more confidence and determination, she proposed bigger suggestions to further develop her hometown.

China Daily reporter Cao Huan recorded Rehangul's story during the Two Sessions each year for the last five years and captured her successful journey.

From a migrant worker to an NPC deputy

Born in a family with six other siblings in a small county in Xinjiang in September 1985, Rehangul dropped out of middle school because her parents could not afford the tuition fees.

Her parents then started looking for a potential husband with a stable income, but Rehangul refused and went to East China's coastal Zhejiang province to find a job.

Because of language barriers, she found it nearly impossible to communicate when she first began working at a textile factory in 2007.

But she didn't give up and worked hard to learn Mandarin and hone her skills. Within a short time, she impressed the company so much with her diligence that she was appointed  workshop manager.

In the years that followed, she brought more than 1,000 workers from Xinjiang to Zhejiang, who in turn contributed more than 10 million yuan to their hometown, as well as creating a team that became known for its “assiduousness, wisdom, honesty and integrity” in China's eastern areas.

2012 was the most fruitful year for Rehangul. She was accepted into Xinjiang Vocational University with Chinese translation as her major, and elected as a delegate to the 12th National People’s Congress.

Record during the Two Sessions

In 2013, China Daily video journalist Cao read about Rehangul’s story in a Chinese media outlet and contacted Rehangul to see whether she could interview and record her work during the Two Sessions.

Rehangul gladly agreed, so Cao was able to follow her from early morning to group discussion of NPC delegates to Rehangul writing her speech in her hotel room in the evening.

“She was nervous, flustered and young. She wrote a speech for panel discussions and practiced dozens of times in her room as she wasn’t a fluent Mandarin speaker,” Cao said.

Because the interview went well, Rehangul and Cao agreed to meet up again the next year.

Since then, Rehangul has brought news and surprises to the Two Sessions every year. And the filming continued.

In 2015, Rehangul featured in CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala as a national model worker.

She is now deputy head of a township in Kashi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

New suggestion, new hope

Rehangul revealed that she is expecting a baby this year. “It has been three months and one day,” told China Daily.
This year, her suggestion is to accelerate the construction of the China-Pakistan railway and build more training bases in Xinjiang.

Kashi, a central area in southern part of Xinjiang, borders Pakistan and other Central Asian countries. “A number of the neighboring countries surely want to know more about our culture and development,” Rehangul said.

Rehangul said the problem is that companies need skilled workers, but there are not proper avenues to train the local population.

“For example, Kashi has a textile factory, so a training course in textiles should be established,” Rehangul said.

Rehangul said that though there have been changes and growth in her in the past five years, one thing that will not change is her determination to contribute to Xinjiang’s development.

Rehangul Yimir at a panel discussion in Beijing on March 12, 2017, during the National People

Rehangul Yimir at a panel discussion in Beijing on March 12, 2017, during the National People's Congress. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/Asianewsphoto]

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