BEIJING – This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC). During a ceremony held on Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the founding of the CYLC is a milestone in the history of the Chinese revolution and the history of youth movement. This generation of Chinese youths not only have more opportunities than their predecessors, but have interacted more with their peers elsewhere across the world. For this reason, their confidence and faith will have a profound influence around the world. The Global Times has invited several international observers to comment on their impression of this generation of Chinese youths.
James Smith, a political and historical relations analyst
Chinese youths recognize that China has made great strides in development across the past 50 years, that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has delivered for ordinary people and that their country is experiencing a renaissance and becoming stronger and more prominent in the world.
Over the past few years, Chinese youths have watched how China successfully overcame its COVID outbreaks. They have observed how China’s economy has continued to grow and offset challenges.
This is an optimistic and forward-looking time for young people in China. Their country is at a crossroads once again. Yet unlike the May Fourth Movement, this is not a time of weakness, disarray or humiliation for China, but it is a time of strength, confidence and hope in the future. Increasingly patriotic, the young people of China are putting their faith in the reality that their country will prevail and deliver against the challenges it faces. They believe that China’s own model will be the way forward.
Jerry Grey, a British Australian freelance writer who has studied cross cultural change management in China and has lived in the country, traveling extensively for 17 years
China’s young people face many challenges, they need to finish school in a highly competitive environment, but it’s designed to place the best of them into an increasing number of university places, those that don’t enter university have options of vocational college or going to work. Despite these challenges, there’s an increasing and palpable confidence in China’s youths.
As the youths of China enter adulthood, they’re entering a society with a great deal of stability and positivity. It’s hard to imagine any government anywhere which could invoke a passion in young students to have over 400,000 of them leave their city homes and travel to the countryside to assist in Rural revitalization and poverty alleviations schemes, yet this is what happened in 2019. What’s more, their values and loyalty are hard to underestimate when as many as 73 million of them (40 percent aged 21-30) choose to visit the former CPC headquarters in Yan’an, Shaanxi Province. They do this out of respect and an innate sense of pride in the past which has led them to their more stable, comfortable and confident future.
In fact, by measurement metric imaginable, China has improved but there’s a great deal more to look forward to in a very confident future.
Bradley Blankenship, a Prague-based US journalist, columnist and political commentator
Poll after poll indicates that a wide majority of young people believe their country is headed in the right direction, and the general population continues to show high levels of government trust and satisfaction.
Recently, I analyzed four primary drivers, namely social-media use, a decline in sociality, stressors in the world (and news about it) and modern parenting strategies, and also noted how government policy fuels these drivers.
When one looks at China, it becomes clear that these stressors are absent or at least improving, meanwhile the Chinese government has enacted policies on each of these issues.
On global stressors, sure, China is struggling with climate change and the threat of global conflict just like every other country. But China’s dynamism and growing influence in the world infuses young people with a certain optimism that you don’t find in other places.
The CPC 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 has proven to be.
The problem is inevitably about governance. China’s government continues to enact policies that do look out for the Chinese youth. The Chinese government led by the CPC continues to look out for the people, helping to improve each successive generations standard of living, which is clearly why Chinese youth feel optimistic about the future.
Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based US political analyst
This generation of Chinese youth has more opportunities than their predecessors. They are coming of age as their proud civilization-state has undoubtedly risen from its knees under the leadership of the CPC with Chinese President Xi Jinping at its core. The past generations built the basis upon which the current one will succeed. The Belt and Road Initiative is transforming globalization by making it more equitable and just. It’s also creating unprecedented opportunities for Chinese youth.
China has never been more open to the rest of the world than it is today. Chinese youth are very well informed about international events and many have interacted with their peers elsewhere across the world.
The China of 2022 is very different from the China of 2012, which itself was fundamentally different from the one a decade prior and so on and so forth. This explains why they’re so patriotic. To be clear, their patriotism isn’t nationalism. Chinese youth respect all others equally, but they won’t tolerate other countries trying to destabilize their own.
China’s national model of democracy is unique because it’s the result of their civilization’s culture, historical experiences, and traditions. Chinese youth are politically conscious of the irreversible political processes that are transforming international relations amidst the ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolarity.
Contemporary Chinese youth have more responsibilities than their predecessors because of the growing global role of their civilization-state. They’re entrusted by the rest of the world with continuing China’s peaceful rise and consequently revolutionizing international relations so that it becomes more equitable and just upon the completion of the ongoing global systemic transition to multipolarity. With these promising youth poised for future leadership positions, the future of humanity is in good hands.