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The spirit of May Fourth Movement lives on

By Liu Jianna | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-30 07:36
The prize-giving ceremony was held on Saturday in Xi’an. [Photo provided to]

Editor's Note: May 4, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, a patriotic campaign launched by Chinese youth in 1919 against imperialism and feudalism. Two experts share their views on the impact of the movement on Chinese youths with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Today's youths carrying movement's spirit forward

As well as propelling the progress of contemporary China, the May Fourth Movement is also seen as the watershed of the new and old democratic revolution. As President Xi Jinping said at the 14th learning session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on April 19, research on the movement and its spirit must be strengthened to guide today's Chinese youths to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 and realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The May Fourth Movement that opened a new chapter in China's modern history a century ago, with patriotism, democracy, progress and science at its core, has been inherited by Chinese youths. The duties of today's youths may have changed, but their deep concern for and sense of responsibility toward the motherland have remained the same.

A century ago, young Chinese strived to save the country from the tentacles of feudalism and imperialism under the guidance of a newly introduced Marxist philosophy. Living in an increasingly prosperous China, however, today's youths strive to realize the Chinese Dream through steady and down-to-earth progress.

Thanks to the May Fourth Movement, Marxism came to be widely accepted and localized in China, and helped the country make remarkable achievements. And China's progress testifies to the applicability of Marxism to the country's natural conditions with the CPC's development interwoven with the localization of Marxism.

Given the existence of some incorrect political thoughts, it is necessary for the CPC to guide youths by introducing more invigorating and appealing political thoughts that are in line with the changing times. Besides, the CPC leadership should help youths to clearly see the nature of social realities from the correct political perspective so they don't get entangled in extremely complicated social realities due to a lack of experience and insight.

Furthermore, attaching greater importance to the development of youths has been part of the CPC's political agenda, not least because the youths represent the future of the nation. No wonder the CPC has been able to cultivate more talented youths, and help them release their potential to promote the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Liu Dongchao, a professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Studies, Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Chinese youths need to be guided in the right direction

The best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement is to carry the spirit of the movement forward. Apart from upholding patriotism, democracy, progress and science, the movement also links the fate of individuals with the times they live in.

Chinese people have always risen up to the occasion and fulfilled their responsibilities in order to push forward the country's development. As such, there is no difference between the spirit of youths who devoted their lives to the independence and development of the country 100 years ago, and that of Chinese scientists, such as aerodynamics and cybernetics expert Qian Xuesen and biophysicist Shi Yigong who returned to the country to help boost China's progress in the field of science, because both groups put the nation's welfare before their personal gains.

Although the concerns over Chinese people born in the 1990s are unwarranted, we have to take measures to prevent the surge of narrow-minded nationalism in certain youths. For instance, the call to boycott all foreign products in the guise of so-called patriotism should be condemned and put to an end.

As the representative of the most advanced political and social force, the CPC should guide the youth's development. In fact, the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, led by the CPC, is playing a bigger role in promoting the healthy development of Chinese youths, so they can work to build a more harmonious and prosperous society. For example, the CYL Central Committee's official weibo account, which has nearly 9 million followers, has helped spread positive energy and inspired China's youth to work for the realization of the Chinese Dream.

Zhang Zhaojun, a professor at the School of History, Beijing Normal University.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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