Gen Z, born during the late 1990s and early 2000s, is a generation of the information age. They have lived their lives fully connected digitally and are accustomed to ubiquitous access to smart phones and social media. Mostly in the early stages of their careers, Gen Zers are deemed as the most promising and dynamic group. It is of great importance to help Gen Zers around the world acquire a more nuanced understanding of China.
On June 15-20, China International Communications Group, publisher of Beijing Review, and Internet giant Tencent co-hosted a journey to give Gen Z a closer look at the headway China has made in the digital economy. During the six-day journey, 16 representatives from 14 countries including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, South Africa and Pakistan, visited Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, and Beijing and experienced China's digital life.
They were able to explore the real China as they not only came and saw, but also interacted with their Chinese peers. They have found they have a lot in common: Their expectations for digital technology are high and they brim with curiosity as well as a desire to uncover and understand the future.
These youths' growing interest in China's development is representative of the numerous young people who come to China every year to study in universities or participate in exchange programs. China has also invested in opening Confucius Institutes around the world. These institutes, named after ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius (551-479 B.C.), serve as nonprofit public institutions to help people overseas better understand China by teaching Chinese language and culture at universities in their host countries.
Amity between peoples holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. The younger generation is the future of a country and the hope of the world. The Internet has narrowed the distance between different parts of the world, but there is still a huge information gap between younger generations in the East and the West. It is essential that more opportunities be created for youths at home and abroad to strengthen communication and deepen mutual understanding.