Young minds shine on Children's Day
By Zhou Jiaxin and Wu Hao

Science and technology affect every aspect of our life and raise new challenges. But how prepared is the younger generation for all these new tasks?

Ahead of Children's Day, students were invited to meet some of the country's top scientists at the Youth Science Festival at Tsinghua University. Among them, Zhou Wenxi, president of Astronomy Club at Shenzhen Middle School, got an opportunity to present a trophy to the scientists, and was inspired. 

"I felt like they were passing me the torch of science and the responsibility to pass it on," the student said. "That will motivate me to go further on the path of science."

Many young children want to become a scientist as their dream profession. As time goes by, they get better access to scientific resources and equipment. But scientists say the younger generation should focus on more than just knowledge. 

"Seeking truth is the essence of science," said Zhang Linqi, professor at Tsinghua's School of Medicine. "We shall never give up and try to get to the bottom of things." 

Zhang's team which has been working on the COVID-19 genome sequencing and vaccination was awarded as youth's top favorite research in the field of bioscience.

China has made great achievements in many scientific fields, such as deep sea and space exploration, 5G communication technologies and artificial intelligence. These breakthroughs have been made possible by innovative projects of leading enterprises.

That can be very inspiring for children, giving them confidence, said Zhang Zhengyou, vice president of Tencent, a Chinese tech company which co-hosted the festival with Tsinghua University. 

"They are full of curiosity, quite willing to explore, and these scientific and technological results have also set bars," said Zhang, also the director of Tencent Al Lab & Robotics X. "I hope children can keep raising them."

Meanwhile, science can also create controversies and challenges when politicized. For instance, Huawei's 5G containment, and the U.S.-led claims against WHO's study into the origins of the coronavirus.

"When humans face difficulties and challenges, they should share sci-tech achievements, so that they can benefit us through cooperation," Zhou said. "They should not be contaminated by politics."

Public health and climate change are now challenging global governance. That also includes a future commitment to the children. 

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