This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC). At a ceremony held Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the founding of CYLC was a milestone in the history of the Chinese revolution and the history of the youth movement. This generation of young Chinese not only have more opportunities than their predecessors, but have also interacted more with their peers elsewhere in the world. For this reason, their trust and faith will have a profound influence throughout the world. The Global Times invited several international observers to comment on their impression of this generation of young Chinese.
James Smith, Political and Historical Relations Analyst
Chinese young people recognize that China has made great progress in development over the past 50 years, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been helpful to ordinary people, and that their country is experiencing a renaissance and becoming stronger and more important in the world.
Over the past few years, young Chinese have observed how China has successfully overcome its COVID outbreaks. They observed how the Chinese economy continued to grow and overcome difficulties.
It is an optimistic and forward-looking time for young people in China. Their country is again at a crossroads. Yet unlike the May Fourth Movement, this is not a moment of weakness, bewilderment or humiliation for China, but a moment of strength, confidence and hope for the future. Increasingly patriotic, young Chinese firmly believe that their country will triumph and overcome the challenges it faces. They believe that China’s own model will be the way forward.
Jerry Grey, a British-Australian freelance writer who studied cross-cultural change management in China and lived in the country, traveling extensively for 17 years
Chinese young people face many challenges, they have to complete their studies in a highly competitive environment, but it is designed to place the best among them in an increasing number of university places, those who do not enter the university have vocational college options or go to work. Despite these challenges, there is a growing and palpable confidence in Chinese youth.
As young Chinese enter adulthood, they enter a society with great stability and positivity. It’s hard to imagine a government anywhere that could summon a passion in young students to see more than 400,000 of them leave their homes in the city and go to the countryside to help with rural revitalization programs. and poverty alleviation, but that’s what happened in 2019. Moreover, their values and loyalty are hard to underestimate when no less than 73 million of them (40% aged 21 30) choose to visit the former CCP headquarters in Yan’an, Shaanxi Province. They do so out of respect and an innate sense of pride in the past that has led them to a more stable, comfortable, and confident future.
In fact, by every conceivable metric, China has improved, but there is much more to look forward to in a very confident future.
Bradley Blankenship, Prague-based American journalist, columnist and political commentator
Poll after poll shows that a large majority of young people think their country is moving in the right direction, and the general population continues to show high levels of trust and satisfaction with government.
Recently, I analyzed four main drivers, namely social media use, declining sociality, stressors in the world (and news about it) and modern parenting strategies, and I have also noted how government policy fuels these drivers.
When looking at China, it becomes clear that these stressors are absent or at least improving, as the Chinese government has adopted policies on each of these issues.
When it comes to global stressors, of course, China grapples with climate change and the threat of global conflict, like every other country. But the dynamism and growing influence of China in the world instill in young people a certain optimism that is not found elsewhere.
The CCP learned from a multitude of different sources in the late 20th century how to implement socialism with a human face. Today, that is essentially what socialism with Chinese characteristics is.
The problem is inevitably one of governance. The Chinese government continues to adopt policies that take care of Chinese youth. The CPC-led Chinese government continues to watch over the people, helping to improve the standard of living for each successive generation, which clearly explains why Chinese youth are optimistic about the future.
Andrew Korybko, US political analyst based in Moscow
This generation of young Chinese has more opportunities than their predecessors. They are coming of age as their proud civilization-state has undoubtedly risen under the leadership of the CCP with Chinese President Xi Jinping at its heart. Past generations have built the foundation on which the present will succeed. The Belt and Road Initiative is transforming globalization by making it fairer and fairer. It also creates unprecedented opportunities for Chinese youth.
China has never been so open to the rest of the world as it is today. Young Chinese are very knowledgeable about international events and many have interacted with their peers elsewhere in the world.
The China of 2022 is very different from the China of 2012, which itself was fundamentally different from that of ten years ago and so on. This explains why they are so patriotic. To be clear, their patriotism is not nationalism. Chinese youth respect all others equally, but they will not tolerate other countries trying to destabilize theirs.
China’s national model of democracy is unique because it is the result of the culture, historical experiences and traditions of their civilization. Chinese youth are politically aware of the irreversible political processes that are transforming international relations amid the ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolarity.
Contemporary Chinese youth have more responsibilities than their predecessors because of the growing global role of their state-civilization. The rest of the world entrusts them with the pursuit of China’s peaceful rise and, consequently, the revolution of international relations so that they become more equitable and just as a result of the ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolarity. With these promising young people ready for future leadership positions, the future of humanity is in good hands.