Realize Youthful Dreams*
May 4, 2013
The 18th CPC National Congress put forward a master blueprint for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and accelerating socialist modernization, and it issued a call for achieving the Two Centenary Goals1. We made clear our desire to realize the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in accordance with the guiding principles of the Congress. At present, all are discussing the Chinese Dream and thinking about how it relates to them and what they need to do to realize it.
– The Chinese Dream pertains to the past and the present, but also the future. It is the crystallization of the tireless efforts of countless people with lofty ideals, embraces the yearnings of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and reveals the prospect of a bright future, when our country will be prosperous and strong, the nation will be rejuvenated, and the people will enjoy a happy life.
– The Chinese Dream is the dream of the country and the nation, but also of every ordinary Chinese. One can do well only when one's country and nation do well. Only if everyone strives for a better tomorrow can our efforts be aggregated into a powerful force to realize the Chinese Dream.
– The Chinese Dream is ours, but also yours, the younger generation. The great renewal of the Chinese nation will eventually become a reality in the course of the successive efforts of the youth.
During all periods of revolution, construction and reform, the Party has always valued, cared about and trusted young people, and placed great expectations on the younger generations. The Party believes that young people represent the future of our country and the hope of our nation, regards them as a vital contingent for the cause of the Party and the people, and always encourages them to realize their ideals in the great struggle of the people.
Today, we are closer than at any time in history to attaining the goal of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we have greater confidence in and capability for achieving this goal than ever before. "The last one tenth of the journey demands half the effort."2 The closer we are to achieving the goal of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the more we should redouble our efforts and not slacken our pace, and the more we must mobilize all young people to this end.
Looking ahead, we can see that our younger generation has a promising future, and will accomplish much. It is a law of history that "the waves of the Yangtze River from behind drive on those ahead," and it is the responsibility of young people to surpass their elders. Young people need to boldly assume the heavy responsibilities that the times impose on you, aim high, be practical and realistic, and put your youthful dreams into action in the course of realizing the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
First, young people must be firm in your ideals and convictions. "One must both have great ambition and make tireless efforts to achieve great exploits."3 Ideals provide direction in life, and convictions determine the success of a cause. Without ideals and convictions one's spirit becomes weak. The Chinese Dream is the common ideal of the people of all ethnic groups, and a lofty ideal that young people should harbor. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the correct path for leading the people in realizing the Chinese Dream that the Party articulated after untold hardships, and all young people should firmly adopt it as a guideline for your lives.
Young people should guide your actions with Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of the Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development; base your ideals and convictions on the rational recognition and acceptance of scientific theories, on a correct understanding of the laws of history, and on an accurate understanding of the basic national conditions; keep enhancing your confidence in the Chinese path, theories and system; have more faith in the Party's leadership; and always follow the Party in upholding Chinese socialism.
Second, young people must have professional competence. Learning is necessary for growth and progress, while practice is the way to improve competence. The qualities and competence of young people will have a direct influence on the course of realizing the Chinese Dream. There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Learning is the bow, while competence is the arrow."4 This means that the foundation of learning is like a bow, while competence is like an arrow; only with rich knowledge can one give full play to one's competence. Young people are in the prime time of learning. You should regard learning as a top priority, a responsibility, a moral support and a lifestyle. You should establish a conviction that dreams start from learning and career success depends on competence. You should make assiduous learning a driving force and competence building a resource for your youthful endeavors.
Young people must orient yourselves to modernization, the world and the future, have a sense of urgency in updating your knowledge, study with great eagerness, lay a good foundation of basic knowledge while updating it promptly, assiduously study theories while enthusiastically developing skills, and constantly enhance your competence and capabilities to meet the development needs of our times and the requirements of our undertaking. Young people must apply what you have learned, stay close to the grassroots and the populace, and, in the great furnace of the reform and opening up and socialist modernization, and in the great school of society, acquire true skills and genuine knowledge, improve competence, and make yourselves capable personnel who can shoulder important social responsibilities.
Third, young people must dare to innovate and create. Innovation is the soul driving a nation's progress and an inexhaustible source of a country's prosperity. It is also an essential part of the Chinese national character. This is what Confucius meant when he said, "If you can in one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation."5 Life never favors those who follow the beaten track and are satisfied with the status quo, and it never waits for the unambitious and those who sit idle and enjoy the fruits of others' work. Instead, it provides more opportunities for those who have the ability and courage to innovate. Young people are the most dynamic and most creative group of our society, and should stand in the forefront of innovation and creation.
Young people should dare to be the first, boldly free their minds and progress with the times, dare to seek high and low for a way to forge ahead, and be ambitious to learn from and then surpass the older generation. With your youthful energy, you can create a country of youth and a nation of youth. Young people should have the willpower to cut paths through mountains and build bridges over rivers, and be indomitable and advance bravely in bringing forth new ideas. You should have a pragmatic attitude that pursues truth, so you can constantly accumulate experience and achieve results in the course of bringing forth new ideas in your chosen occupations.
Fourth, young people must be devoted to hard work. "The sharpness of a sword results from repeated grinding, while the fragrance of plum blossoms comes from frigid weather." Human ideals are not easy to achieve, but need hard work. From poverty to prosperity, and from weakness to strength, China has been able to progress step by step over centuries thanks to the tenacity of one generation after another, and to the nation's spirit of constant self-improvement through hard work. Currently we are facing important opportunities for development, but we are also facing unprecedented difficulties and challenges. The dream stretches out before us and the road lies at our feet. Those who overcome their weaknesses are powerful, and those who keep improving themselves come out victors. If we are to achieve our development goals, young people must work long and hard without letup.
Young people must bear in mind that "empty talk harms the country, while hard work makes it flourish" and put this into practice. You must work hard at your own posts, start from trivial things, and create your own splendid life with hard work, outstanding performances and remarkable achievements. Young people must never fear difficulties, but try to overcome them; you should go to the grassroots with tough conditions and the frontline for national construction and project development to temper yourselves and enhance your capabilities.Young people must have the courage and determination to start up businesses and do pioneering work, try to blaze new trails and start new endeavors in reform and opening up, and constantly create new prospects for their career development.
Fifth, young people must temper your character. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a form of socialism in which material and cultural progresses go hand in hand. It is difficult for a nation without inner strength to be self-reliant, and a cause that lacks a cultural buttress cannot be sustained for long. Young people are a social force that leads the social ethos. The cultural attainment of a nation is represented mostly by the morality and mental outlook of the younger generation.
Young people must integrate correct moral cognition, conscious moral development and active moral practice, conscientiously establish and practice the core socialist values, and take the lead in advocating good social conduct. Young people must strengthen theoretical improvement and moral cultivation, take the initiative to carry forward patriotism, collectivism and socialism, and actively advocate social and professional ethics, and family virtues. Young people should bear in mind that "virtue uplifts, while vice debases"6 and always be optimists and persons of integrity who have a healthy lifestyle. Young people should advocate new social trends, be the first in learning from Lei Feng7, take an active part in voluntary work, shoulder social responsibilities, care for others, help the poor, the weak and the disabled, and do other good and practical deeds, so as to promote social progress with their actions.
The theme of the Chinese youth movement today is to strive to realize the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese Communist Youth League should carry out extensive educational and practical activities with the theme of "My Chinese Dream" for young Chinese. It should sow the seeds of and ignite the dreams of each youth so that more young people dare to dream and pursue their dreams. In this way all young people can increase their youthful energy to realize the Chinese Dream. The League should lay a solid intellectual basis for all young Chinese with the Chinese Dream, and educate and help them to establish a correct world view, outlook on life and sense of values, always love our country, our people and our nation, and firmly follow the Party along the Chinese path. The League should inspire young people's sense of historical responsibility through the Chinese Dream, carry forward the fine tradition of "the League taking action upon the Party's call," combine its work with Party and government work, and organize and mobilize young people to support reform, promote development and maintain stability. The League must actively offer services for young people in pursuing their dreams, effectively improve its practice, get close to young people at the primary level, address their concerns and pressing needs, represent and protect the common interests and needs of the young people, and try to build a favorable environment for their growth and development.
Role models from among the youngsters are good examples for young people to learn from; they shoulder more social responsibilities and public expectations, and play a strong exemplary and leading role among young people, and even in society as a whole. I hope these role models will make persistent efforts, be strict with themselves, be determined to go ahead, and set a good example to all young people with their personal development, moral pursuit and exemplary action.
A country prospers if its youth is thriving; a country is strong if its youth is robust. Ever since its founding in 1921 the Party has represented, drawn over and relied on young Chinese people. Party committees and governments at all levels must fully trust in, care for and be strict with young people; give a wider scope for their thoughts, build a larger stage for their practice and innovation, provide more opportunities for the pursuit of their life goals, and create more favorable conditions for their career development. Officials at all levels must pay attention to young people's aspirations, help them to grow, support them to start their own businesses, become their bosom friends, and show enthusiasm for youth work.
Everybody is young once in their life. Now is the time for you to make the most of your youth; and the future is a time for you to look back on it. The path of life is sometimes level, sometimes steep; sometimes smooth, sometimes rough; sometimes straight, sometimes crooked. Young people are faced with a wide range of choices. But what is important for you is to be guided by a correct world view, outlook on life and sense of values when you are making your choices. The life experiences of countless successful people suggest that young people who choose to endure hardships will be duly rewarded, and those who make contributions to society are the ones who deserve respect. Tribulations, setbacks and tests have proved to be good for young people in their later life. You need to have strength of character to be undaunted when confronting good or bad fortune, have a firm will to keep pressing forward in spite of repeated setbacks, remain optimistic in all circumstances, turn your failures into a driving force, and learn from your experiences, so that your life is raised to a higher plane. In short, the only way you can have fond memories of a wellspent, warm and lasting youth with no regrets is to work enthusiastically and energetically, tenaciously overcome all obstacles, and make a contribution to the people while you are still young.
I firmly believe that if the people of all ethnic groups unite under the Party's leadership, stand on solid ground and forge ahead with a pioneering spirit, we can certainly build a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious modern socialist country by the middle of this century. And all our young people will surely witness and share in the realization of the Chinese Dream along with the people of all ethnic groups.
* Part of the speech to outstanding young representatives from all walks of life.
1 The Two Centenary Goals were put forth by the CPC at its 18th National Congress for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The two goals are to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC (founded in 1921) and to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the centenary of the PRC (founded in 1949).
2 Strategies of the States (Zhan Guo Ce), a collection of stories of political strategists of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).
3 The Book of History (Shang Shu), a collection of documents and speeches by rulers of the Shang (c. 1600-1046 BC) and Zhou (1046-256 BC) dynasties.
4 Yuan Mei: Sequel to Discourses on Poetry (Xu Shi Pin). Yuan Mei (1716-1797) was a poet and critic of the Qing Dynasty.
5 The Great Learning (Da Xue) is one of the "Four Classics of Confucianism," the other three being The Analects of Confucius, The Mencius and The Doctrine of the Mean.
6 The Discourses of the States (Guo Yu) records important events taking place during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC) and the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The book is believed to have been written by Zuoqiu Ming (556-451 BC), a noted historian of the State of Lu.
7 Lei Feng (1940-1962) was a PLA soldier and a role model. He served the people wholeheartedly, was ready to help others, and loved whatever work he was assigned to. He died at his post in an accident. In 1963 Mao Zedong wrote "Learn from Comrade Lei Feng," starting a national campaign for people to copy his selfless deeds. March 5 is a national memorial day to learn from him.
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