​Where China and the world are heading, and how we can help: Gen Z speak up

Co-sponsored by Tsinghua University and China Daily, the Global Generation Z Forum 2022 was held at Tsinghua University on Nov 14. At the forum, members of Generation Z from more than 30 countries talked about their interpretation of what happened at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and on its significance to the world.

Qu Yingpu, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, and Qiu Yong, secretary of the CPC Tsinghua University Committee and chairman of Tsinghua University Council, gave the opening speeches at the forum online. Wang Hao, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily, Xiang Botao, deputy secretary of the CPC Tsinghua University Committee, Dong Xia, head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League and others were present at the forum. Members of Generation Z from China, Russia, India, South Africa, France, Egypt, Georgia, and the United States attended the forum and delivered speeches.

Qu of China Daily said that in the report of the 20th National Congress, President Xi Jinping mapped out a blueprint for China's future and called on young people to blossom as they help to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects. The congress is directly and closely related to both Chinese and global youth, Qu said. He suggested that young people learn about the spirit of the 20th National Congress and put it into practice. He encouraged youth all over the world to promote the construction of “a community with a shared future for mankind” and encouraged young people to try to better understand China. They should visit more places in the country and present to the world unbiased and truthful stories of China so as to promote exchanges and mutual learning among Chinese and other civilizations, he said.

Qiu said “a nation will prosper only when its young people thrive”. The world of tomorrow will be better when global youth work together. Drawing on Xi’s remarks on youth, he said Tsinghua University is devoted to supporting the cultivation of young people, creating a broader stage on which they can display their talents. He called on young people to discover and understand China and share China's experience with the rest of the world. He conveyed his hope that young people be the participant and narrator of world stories, and work tirelessly to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

At the forum, members of Generation Z talked of their thoughts on the 20th National Congress, on what they think the mission of the world’s young is and on their hopes and aspirations for the future.

Liu Dibo, a Chinese studying in the School of Environment of Tsinghua University, told of his “friendship in generations” with Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, when Liu worked as a volunteer at the Winter Olympic Games and Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing this year. He referred to his friendship with Bitti as “a warm friendship born in the cold of the Winter Games”, and said it is the responsibility of every generation of Chinese youth to let the world know about the country’s culture.

Nik Gu, a Russian studying international relations and one of the global student ambassadors at Tsinghua, said he had witnessed the rapid development and historic changes of China in recent years. Gu, who has lived in China for 17 years, said he has been deeply influenced by its cultural concept of “harmony without uniformity”. He said he was optimistic about continuing close relations between China and Russia, and called on young people worldwide to work together to promote the concept of “a community with a shared future for mankind” in the world.

Shamim Zakaria, from India, who is a journalist, said he once visited China's countryside to immerse himself in rural life. He realized the profound meaning of the concept of “this country is its people; the people are the country”, he said, which was emphasized by President Xi in the report of the 20th National Congress. Countries should put aside differences and focus on commonalities and pass on their wisdom based on equality and mutual respect, he said. “I firmly believe that when we act for the greater good as young people, the effects will be felt for years to come.”

Sinovuyo Mkula and Shannah from South Africa, talking to the forum by video about Chinese traditional medicine. Both told of the important role it plays in treating diseases in Africa. The Belt and Road Initiative is highly important in helping to reduce global poverty and to build a better world, Sinovuyo said.

Minh Thao Chan from France, a PhD student majoring in autonomous driving at Tsinghua University, talked of his understanding of the “Chinese path to modernization”. China has placed a premium on developing science, technology and education, he said.

Sherif Abdelsamie, an Egyptian studying at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told of the positive impact on Egypt of the Belt and Road Initiative, and expressed his gratitude to China for its contribution to the world’s development.

Tamar Kvlividze, a Georgian short-video blogger, who has her own channels on social media platforms in both China and Georgia, said that as an international online celebrity she used her camera to tell of what she had heard and seen in China. Through her videos, a credible, appealing, and respectable presentation of China has attracted many viewers, she said.

Jennifer Holstein, from the United States, who had studied in China and worked as an educator here, said she agrees with the Chinese government’s idea of “invigorating China through science and education and developing a strong workforce for the modernization drive”. The government’s investment in education, the ethos of respecting teachers and education, and the pursuit of equity in education gave her an insight into the rapid development of Chinese education, she said.

The Global Generation Z Forum 2022 was organized by China Daily 21st Century and co-organized by the College Alliance for Young Ambassadors, with the aim of guiding young people around the world to understand and interpret China, promoting mutual learning and communication, and encouraging young people to share responsibility for building a better world.

Reporter: Guo Lili

Photos: Li Pai, Sun Bo, China Daily 

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