Thirty years on, Chinese youth more confident of country’s futur

The daily flag-raising ceremony took place in Tiananmen Square in downtown Beijing at sunrise on Tuesday, with thousands of local residents, tourists from other parts of China and other countries attending the ceremony and enjoying a peaceful and joyous early morning in the heart of the Chinese capital. The Chinese national flag is also known as the Five-starred Red Flag, which for generations has evoked heartfelt patriotism in China with expressions like: “Born in New China. Growing under the Red Flag.” Huang Bing, 26, a young Party member from Chongqing, arrived at the square at 3:30 am. He was by no means the first to arrive for the flag raising that started exactly at sunrise – on Tuesday, the sun rose at 4:47 am. Huang said experiencing the ceremony in Tiananmen Square felt more sacred and solemn than the weekly flag raisings that he had attended in the past. Even though Tiananmen Gate is surrounded in red scaffolding as restorations and renovations continue in advance of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October, the enthusiasm and excitement of people attending Tuesday’s ceremony was obvious, as they kept snapping photos and selfies. A young couple from Shanghai was seen teaching their son about the historical significance of Tiananmen Square and instilling him with pride and respect for the national flag as they waited for the ceremony. The father, surnamed Zhou, 29, said he and his family were on vacation, and the ceremony was an important lesson in patriotism for his son, even though it meant crawling out of bed in the wee hours. The boy’s mother, surnamed Liu, said “30 years from now maybe he will bring his children here to do the same thing. That will be 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of our country.” She predicted a future full of opportunity and optimism. Young parents like Liu and Zhao are the beneficiaries of a generation of stability in China. They grew up in an environment without chaos or conflicts, and have witnessed tremendous advances during the fastest period of development in the country’s history over the last three decades. Compared with older generations, “the new generation under the red flag,” or the 1990s and 2000s generation, as seen on Tiananmen Square on Tuesday, is undoubtedly more confident, optimistic, patriotic and open-minded about the outside world. The biggest star on the top left corner of Chinese national flag represents the Communist Party of China (CPC). Every Chinese knows this since childhood and as the new generation under the red flag, Chinese youth show stronger support to the Party and more approval of Marxism. A survey conducted by the China Youth Daily in April covering 10,393 participants from 31 different provinces and municipalities with an average age of 27 shows that 87.6 percent approve of Marxism, with the approval rate among the 2000s generation – 89.3 percent – being the highest among the participants. Those born in the 1980s had an approval rate of 88 percent, and the rate was 87.8 percent for those born in the 1990s, the survey found. The latest data released by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee in June 2018 showed that among the 89.564 million Party members, 13.31 million are under 30 years old, and 1.78 million are students. The current generation of Chinese youth grew up with Coca-Cola and Hollywood movies, but why do they have stronger support for the Party rather than becoming anti-Communist proxies to launch a “Color Revolution” just as some Western forces have expected? Analysts believe that the approval rate of the CPC among the youth will continue to increase for at least three reasons: The powerful, successful and stable leadership of the CPC provides financial stability to the youth in a world with increasing uncertainty; the performance of the CPC from the 1990s to the present has convinced the youth that the Party is efficient and capable of self-correction; the current youth didn’t experience the poor and weak period, and they have a better understanding of the unstable and problematic parts of the outside world, while living in a stable and advanced domestic environment.