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100th anniversary an event 'worth celebrating'

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-21 11:28
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Erik Nilsson, a senior journalist at China Daily, gives his speech at the Vision China event in Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang province, on June 20, 2021. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/]

China's achievements under the Communist Party of China are worth celebrating as the country commemorates the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding and beyond, US journalist Erik Nilsson said on Sunday.

During a speech at Sunday's Vision China event in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, the China Daily journalist recalled that a China Central Television reporter recently asked him what he expects the country will be like when his daughter reaches his age.

"I suddenly realized she'll be my age, 38, in 2050, the exact year that China, led by the Party, will have achieved the second centenary goal of 'building a great modern socialist country'," he said.

"I also suddenly realized how happy this makes me. Because of my experience covering China from the front lines, I have no doubt it will also accomplish this second centenary goal on time."

China achieved its first centenary goal of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects" recently.

Nilsson pointed out that the Party's priorities and achievements are chiefly directed toward a better future.

"That is, not only for the people of today, but also the children of tomorrow," he said.

"Party-led progress enables people to go further, beyond meeting their basic needs to pursuing individual and collective … aspirations, including those that are spiritual in nature. As such, while I'm not Chinese, I recognize that the Chinese dream belongs to the world. My Chinese dream is contributing to telling the story of China's development, and particularly its poverty alleviation miracle."

The Beijing-based journalist has visited often-remote communities in every province of the Chinese mainland over the past 15 years.

Nilsson traveled to the Vision China event from Yan'an in Shaanxi province, on his second recent trip to the city. There, he hosted documentaries and wrote articles on this first journey, exploring stories related to the CPC's revolutionary history and contemporary poverty alleviation projects.

"The CPC was founded to improve people's lives, generally and specifically, especially at that time, to enable poor farmers to meet their basic needs," he said. "I've been delighted by the accelerated progress made in the final push to bring the so-called 'intractably poor' out of extreme poverty, largely through the targeted poverty alleviation approach advocated by General Secretary Xi Jinping."

He said his journeys in Yan'an were especially meaningful, as he was retracing the footsteps of US journalist Edgar Snow, the first foreign writer to enter CPC territory in northern Shaanxi roughly 85 years ago. Snow wrote his seminal book, Red Star Over China, based on his journey.

Nilsson's second trip to Yan'an this year, which ended the day before the Vision China event, was to attend the Snow of the New Era International Forum.

"These trips are especially meaningful to me now, since-to my great surprise-many internet users, media and people at events have called my new book, Closer to Heaven: A Global Nomad's Journey Through China's Poverty Alleviation, the 'Red Star Over China of the 21st century' and have called me the 'Edgar Snow of the new era'," he said. "Some even jokingly call me, 'Erik Snow'.

"Our publisher Zhou Shuchun has just announced the official establishment of the Edgar Snow Newsroom, and I'm truly honored to be a member. There are many foreign journalists and editors like me in our newspaper, we will do our utmost to walk the land of China, to trace the development of China with our own footsteps to tell the stories of China in the new era, just like Snow."

Nilsson's hit book and personal story have received a great deal of attention from readers, netizens and major media.

"My book is ultimately the fulfillment of my personal Chinese dream, a vision for fulfillment that's experienced collectively by the nation and individually by its people," Nilsson said.

And that dream extends to future generations, too, he said, including to his own children.

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