05-11-2009 14:02

The high-profile activities for several consecutive days in China to commemorate the May Fourth Movement and to celebrate the Youth Day have not only pushed to the peak the Chinese people’s focus on this generation of young people, but have also attracted the attention of foreign media, who have closely watched for the past few years on Chinese youths, one of the world’s largest groups. This young group, with a size equal to one half of the Europe’s total population, has been given different titles in China and abroad in recent years, including the “spoiled generation,” the “strawberry generation” and the “Bird’s Nest generation.” What worries the West is certainly the “angry youth generation” which is tied with “nationalism.” However, more and more people in the international community view Chinese youths as a positive force to push the world forward. Several days ago the US think tank, The Brookings Institution, held a seminar with the theme of “Understanding China’s Angry Youth.” Geng Xin, a Japanese-based expert on China issues, said that this generation of young people possesses the highest international standards in the modern Chinese history. But they also must shoulder various woes and ordeals that China is facing in the course of becoming a great world power. “Task will be arduous and road will be long and tortuous” will continue to be the motto for this generation of youths.

Chinese youths’ patriotism attracts wide attention

This year’s Youth Day marks the 90th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement which started the Contemporary Chinese History. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao directly communicated with students from famous universities, and on May 4, top leaders also attended a grand gathering in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement. The series of high-profile activities attracted the attention of the international media, with numerous media focusing on the subject of “Chinese youths’ patriotism.” The Japanese news agency, Yomiuri Shimbun’s website reported on May 4, that China is guiding the patriotism of the youths eager to see their motherland become stronger. During the Wenchuan Earthquake aftermath and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, countless Chinese youths participated in volunteer services, working diligently with great efforts, and waving national flags to oppose the international criticism on China. The youths’ behavior, just as the May Fourth Movement, reflects the Chinese youths’ strong patriotism.

On May 4, the website of the Brookings Institution of the US published an article entitled “Understanding China’s Angry Youths: What Does the Future Hold?” briefing on the seminar held on April 29 on Chinese youths by the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution. According to the article, China’s "Angry Youths" or “fenqing”, present a challenging phenomenon to both China and the outside world. These young men and women often use the Internet and other channels to publicly express their political views. The article said that their hyper-nationalistic and often anti-American sentiments, which first emerged in the late 1990s, are widely disseminated today, standing in sharp contrast to the generation of Chinese youths 20 years ago. Some questions were raised including, what gives rise to China’s “Angry Youths?” How representative are they?” What impacts will the growing influence of China’s "Angry Youths" have on China’s future political trajectory and foreign policies? In the article, it was explained that the seminar is aimed at exploring the characteristics of this unique segment of the Chinese society and study how the West might trigger the radical reactions of China’s “Angry Youths”, and what would be the benefits of “understanding China’s young generation.”