China's Gen Z: vital for national rejuvenation
Xin Ge
The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference to introduce a white paper titled "Youth of China in the New Era." in Beijing, China, April 21, 2022. /CFP

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference to introduce a white paper titled "Youth of China in the New Era." in Beijing, China, April 21, 2022. /CFP

Editor's note: Xin Ge is an associate professor at the School of Public Economics and Administration, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

China's youth in the new era are growing into a new generation capable of shouldering the responsibility of national rejuvenation, according to a national white paper released on April 21.

Titled "Youth of China in the New Era," the white paper was released by the State Council Information Office of China. The white paper is the first of its kind to highlight China's youth, and documents the favorable conditions the Party and the State have created for the youngsters and the tremendous achievements of youth development in the new era and reflects the spirits of Generation Z. Several keywords can be highlighted in the white paper: opportunity, all-around development, dedication, and global vision.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, China has entered a new era in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and China's young generation has met with more opportunities for personal growth and development than ever.

First, there are better material conditions. As of 2021, China's GDP exceeded 110 trillion yuan, 25 million young people had escaped poverty, and the majority of youngsters had diverse choices of products and living styles; there is also a greater space forged for colorful cultural life.

Second, more opportunities have emerged to fulfill young peoples' self-potential. In 2021, the completion rate of compulsory education in China reached 95.4 percent. The gross enrollment rate in higher education reached 57.8 percent, with 44.3 million students on campus, ranking first in the world.

It is noticeable that from 2012 to 2021, over 820,000 students from rural and poverty-stricken areas were enrolled in tertiary studies with unique enrollment plans. Thanks to the development of aerospace technology, Chinese students can enjoy the live-streaming "Tiangong Class" taught by the taikonauts in space, which enormously inspired youths' interests in science and space.

Career options have also become more diverse. Generation Zers now look beyond a stable lifetime job and look forward to multiple job offers. Over 70 percent of young people choose to make homes in the city, enjoying the benefits of and contributing to fast urbanization, whereas some talented youth choose to reside in rural areas to join farming due to the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy.

Now, backed by policy initiatives of the CPC and the central government, young people can take the lead in innovation and starting businesses, serving the country and the people with their ingenuity and expertise in economic, social, technological, and cultural fields.

Medics board on buses heading to the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing, southwest China, April 14, 2022. /Xinhua

Medics board on buses heading to the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing, southwest China, April 14, 2022. /Xinhua

China's Generation Z also sees better all-around development. With a firm commitment to core socialist values and confidence in the Chinese path, theory, system, and culture, the young generation boasts markedly improved physical and mental health.

Furthermore, the youngsters have worked hard to turn their firm ideals and conviction, positive values, and strong confidence into a healthy social mindset. They are actively engaged in political activities, especially the whole process of people's democracy. Active involvement in political and social affairs displays the young generation's strong sense of participation and social responsibility.

The third feature of China's young generation is their dedication to the cause of socialist development. In grassroots work posts, in difficult situations and emergencies, in community services, in leading business and tech development, there are always young Chinese working for the country and society and striving for the happiness of the local people.

Since the resurgence of COVID-19 in Shanghai in March, many Generation Zers including senior school and university students and graduates have actively joined voluntary works in residential communities. With an iron will and boundless courage, Generation Zers have made an enormous contribution to winning the battle against COVID-19.

In the past two months, volunteers at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games offered warm services with their youthful vigor, diligence and dedication, unveiling the vibrant and energetic image of the Chinese youth to the world.

Last but not the least, with abundant opportunities for all-around development and dedication to the socialist construction, the Generation Z of China in the new era shares the concern for the future development of the whole humanity.

The past four decades have witnessed relentless communication between the youngsters of China and the world. In 2019, over 700,000 Chinese students went abroad, and the total number of returnees numbered more than 4.2 million by 2019. In the global governance of youth affairs in various international arenas, China's youth not only seize every opportunity to tell China's stories but more importantly, advocate and practice the idea of building an open, inclusive, clean, beautiful and secure global community of shared future with their counterparts from all over the world, engaging in heart-to-heart communication and dialogue.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping put it, "A country will be full of hope and can look forward to a bright prospect when its young generation has ideals, abilities, and a strong sense of responsibility." China's national rejuvenation and the global community creation lie in the wisdom and strength of young people.

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