China / Society

Understanding China's Youth Day

By CAO YIN ( Updated: 2014-05-04 22:01

National Youth Day, which fell on Sunday, May 4, this year, is a commemoration unique to the country that historians say celebrates some of the ideals that formed modern China. The significance of Youth Day was underscored on Sunday by President Xi Jinping’s visit to Peking University Citizens and leaders of China are well aware of the importance of Youth Day, but here are some facts that others might not know.

Why Peking University?

Peking University was a launching pad for the May 4th Movement, an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, political and cultural campaign led by students in 1919.

At that time, the university was a cradle for new ideas and its students were the main force in the movement.

The university provided fertile soil for young pioneers to spread the new concepts. Meanwhile, the movement pushed forward educational reform at the institution. Now, the university is understood as a witness to history.

To remember the May 4th Movement and inform young people, the university now holds activities each year, including inviting young leaders to give speeches, presenting flowers for young pioneers and organizing singing competitions.

Peking University students also travel to other provinces or invite other colleges to visit its campus on Youth Day, aiming to inspire more people’s patriotic enthusiasm and remembrance of Chinese history.

What have China's top officials said on Youth Day?

"I hope more young people like us can go to teach and establish educational career in western and border areas where have harsher condition in our country, living a special wonderful life as taking Chinese dream into practice."

- President Xi Jinping said in a letter in Hebei province in 2014 for Baoding University graduates who teach in western areas.

"How to celebrate the Youth Day? We visited the achievement exhibition of aerospace technology, felt the spirit of manned space flight, and encouraged everyone, including the youth, to fight for the Chinese dream that brings about a great rejuvenation of the country. Such a celebration was very meaningful."

- President Xi Jinping said as he visited China Academy of Space Technology in 2013.

"I hope young people can persist in innovation, because what we face is a changing world and we pursue careers that nobody has before. The youth, with the most passion and biggest potential in innovation, should have the courage to stand at the forefront and surpass the past."

- Hu Jintao, former president, said as he gave a speech in 2012, the 90th anniversary of the Communist Youth League.

"Our traffic developments couldn't keep up with people's demand. We should put public transportation on the first place and provide policy support for workers in this field."

- Wen Jiabao, former premier, replied to a young bus driver during a discussion held in Zhongnanhai, central government complex in 2011.

"I hope the university can boost teaching quality, increase studies and educate more students to make contributions to developing modern agricultures in our country."

- Hu Jintao, former president, said in a letter for teachers and students of China Agricultural University in 2010.

"Modern agriculture needs advanced technology to support, so I hope you can target the frontiers of agricultural sciences and break through core technology, aiming to fast develop our agricultures."

- Hu Jintao, former president, said as he visited China Agricultural University in 2009.

"I visited Yale University when I went to the United States two years ago, so I felt excited when I saw students educated under a project between the US university and Peking University. I hope you can make progresses together and become talents who know different cultures and have international horizon."

- Hu Jintao, former president, replied to a foreign student as he visited in Peking University.

"Young people should read more books, especially extracurricular ones, and get more knowledge. And I hope you can go on walking, even if you meet difficulties, not giving up halfway."

- Wen Jiabao, former premier, told students as he visited Renmin University of China in 2007.

"Teachers should learn from students, understanding and making friends with the young people who are curious about knowledge and have courage to explore."

- Wen Jiabao, the then premier, said during a visit Beijing Normal University in 2006.

"I'm glad to see you did great efforts to improve hometowns, making villages there develop fast and become rich. I'm proud of you, hoping you can go on contributing to national unity and harmony with your wisdom and strength."

- Hu Jintao, the then president, said in a letter for youngsters in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2005.

"Challenges make a nation much stronger. The fight against SARS was the challenge both for our country and young people, making us more united."

- Wen Jiabao, the then premier, said during a visit in Tsinghua University in 2003, when China was challenged by the SARS disease which killed many people.

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