An event named Studying and Implementing the Spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China — Speech Tour of Outstanding Party Counselors from A Thousand Universities” took place on the NYU Shanghai campus on Monday, Dec. 4. The event featured four CPC counselors who delivered speeches on the role and responsibilities of Chinese youth in the context of the recent 19th National Congress of the CPC.
On Dec. 1, all Chinese national students at NYU Shanghai received an email informing them about the speech. This event was initially proposed by China’s Ministry of Education, suggesting that university students should learn more about the spirit delivered in the CPC National Congress meeting. The proposal received an immediate response from universities in Beijing. In response to the call from Beijing, the Shanghai Ministry of Education organized a similar series “that requires all university campuses in Shanghai to participate,” said Yu Hong, one of the counselor speakers from East China Normal University.
Geng Shaoning, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Moral Education Committee, opened the event with a speech, telling students that the tour was to cover more than 30 provinces and province-level municipalities in China. The event covers all 61 universities in Shanghai, including NYU Shanghai. Shaoning suggested that the younger generation should learn from the 19th National Congress of the CPC, and added that the idea of the event is to “inspire university students to understand the spirit of the Congress and contribute their knowledge to the future steps China is taking.”
Counselors from Shanghai Jiaotong University, Donghua University, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, and ECNU all spoke at NYU Shanghai. They expressed their pride in China’s development and the CPC, giving examples from their life experience and famous scholars such as Qian Xuesen, who is known as the father of Chinese spaceflight.
Wang Yushen, moral education counselor and secretary of the Party committee at Shanghai Jiaotong University, wanted students “to have the sense of responsibility and dedication to the country.”
“Some students might cover their ears as soon as they hear the word party because they think they have nothing to do with political issues,” Wang added, “but this is actually a result of misunderstanding. We are trying to tackle this problem because [members of the] young generation are the ones who play most important roles in the future.”
Russell Li, Class of 2021, believes the 19th National Congress of CPC was an important event that brought the world’s attention to China and its rise. Li had hoped the speech would contain more information about the Congress, instead of focusing on the spirit. His voice was echoed by two other freshmen, who both skipped their Calculus class for the event.
A member of the Class of 2018 who wished to remain anonymous said that he believes the 19th National Congress of the CPC indicates the important steps China is taking in the upcoming years. He is planning to work in China after graduation, and believes it is necessary for him to learn more about it. He considered two of the counselors’ speeches especially helpful, because they mentioned the implementation of new policies departing from Xi’s “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in The New Era.”
NYU Shanghai Chancellor Yu Lizhong, at the end of the conference, emphasized the importance of the event. Yu commented that the 19th National Congress of the CPC marks a milestone in China’s development and that all Chinese people have reason to be proud.
Yu shared what his life in China was like 30 years ago and compared it to living conditions in China today. He believes that China is taking big steps forward and it is important for NYU Shanghai students to learn about it. Yu suggested that because of NYU Shanghai’s uniqueness, students are exposed to various voices, but it is essential to listen to China’s own voice.
“I hope it can inspire students into thinking,” Yu said, asked what he believed the biggest takeaway for students should be.
Simone Ye and Ben Weilun Zhang are contributing writers. Email them firstname.lastname@example.org.