Youths talk bi­lat­eral ties, cul­ture

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By HONG XIAO in New York xi­ao­hong@chi­nadai­

The theme was 2020: China, US and Me, and dur­ing a two-hour ex­change of views, Chi­nese and Amer­i­can col­lege stu­dents cov­ered a wide range of is­sues, in­clud­ing China-US re­la­tions, sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences of their re­spec­tive ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems, cam­pus life, cui­sine and en­ter­tain­ment.

The ex­change took place on Tues­day night at New York Univer­sity (NYU) and was or­ga­nized by the school and State-owned China Ra­dio In­ter­na­tional (CRI). It was the fifth an­nual di­a­logue hosted by CRI, and the first one held out­side of China.

Launched in 2011, the an­nual get-to­gether, called From Univer­sity to the World, in­vites stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Chi­nese and Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties to meet and dis­cuss trend­ing top­ics from dif­fer­ing per­spec­tives.

There were 10 stu­dents in this year’s di­a­logue. Chen Yiqi, Tang Tianyi, Zhou Dingyi, all univer­sity stu­dents from the Chi­nese main­land, were voted to par­tic­i­pate by about 100,000 Chi­nese ne­ti­zens. Franklin Zeng, Yin Dan­qing are Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing in the US. The other five stu­dents were Amer­i­can from NYU, Matthew Gib­son, Nas­rin Ja­fari, Lily Li, Christina Perry and Michael Yang.

Zhou Dingyi, a third-year grad­u­ate stu­dent at Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies Univer­sity, said that it’s very com­mon and rea­son­able for many coun­tries, not just China, to con­sider their re­la­tion­ship with the US to be the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship of the fu­ture.

“For many peo­ple in many coun­tries, they grew up lis­ten­ing to Amer­i­can pop mu­sic and watch­ing Hol­ly­wood movies, be­cause Amer­ica is cur­rently the only su­per power of the world. Its global pres­ence is so dom­i­nant and its cul­tural in­flu­ence is preva­lent,” he said.

Chen Yiqi, a law school stu­dent from North China Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, said con­flicts be­tween the world’s two largest economies are some­what un­avoid­able, but that is a small part of the over­all re­la­tion­ship.

Yin Dan­qing said that Chi­naUS re­la­tions will be­come more com­plex and also more in­ter­est­ing. “I would use ‘seek­ing com­mon ground to all the dif­fer­ences’ to de­scribe the US-China re­la­tion­ship,” she said.

Tang Tianyi echoed Chen’s view. “I believe that China and the US can co­op­er­ate with each other very well and we should,” said the se­nior from Bei­jing For­eign Stud­ies Univer­sity. “We can make a joint ef­fort to make this world a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for us two.”

As for the US-China re­la­tion­ship, a sur­vey by CRI of about 500 Chi­nese and 350 Amer­i­can col­lege stu­dents con­ducted ahead of the dis­cus­sion showed that 66 per­cent of the Chi­nese re­spon­dents believe that the China-US re­la­tion­ship is the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship of the fu­ture; 36 per­cent of the US stu­dents said re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries are the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral tie, and 39 per­cent of the US stu­dents said the USEurope re­la­tion­ship is the most im­por­tant.

Franklin Zeng said the world today is su­per con­nected and call­ing it a bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship is not ac­cu­rate. The re­la­tion­ships be­tween coun­tries are not mu­tu­ally exclusive any­more but have a lot of over­lap­ping parts.

Talk­ing about the asym­me­try of the un­der­stand­ing of each other’s coun­tries, both Matthew Gib­son and Chen Yiqi spoke highly of Chi­nese stu­dents’ un­der­stand­ing of Amer­i­cans.

They also said Amer­i­cans’ old im­pres­sions of China have grad­u­ally been re­placed by new things, for ex­am­ple, Amer­i­can univer­sity stu­dents just voted Jack Ma the third-most re­spected Chi­nese per­son­al­ity — after Con­fu­cius and Jackie Chan.

Tang Tianyi says young Chi­nese and Amer­i­can peo­ple need to get to know each other bet­ter.

“When I came to the US to have a sum­mer course, one of my Amer­i­can peers asked me do you have McDon­ald’s in China? So when I got this kind of reaction and I found that we don’t know each other enough,” she said.

The dis­cus­sion did ap­pear to gen­er­ate one area of consensus: Fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tion will in­crease trust and re­duce the pos­si­bil­ity of con­flict. But all 10 stu­dents who par­tic­i­pated in the ses­sion did con­cede that there is a per­cep­tion gap that re­mains on both sides.

“I think this theme could not be more ap­pro­pri­ate, more timely to dis­cuss,” said Zhang Meifang, Chi­nese deputy con­sul gen­eral in New York.

I would use ‘seek­ing com­mon ground to all the dif­fer­ences’ to de­scribe the US-China re­la­tion­ship.” Yin Dan­qing, over­seas Chi­nese stu­dent


Stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Chi­nese and Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties dis­cuss trend­ing top­ics at From Univer­si­ty­totheWorld, or­ga­nized by China Ra­dio In­ter­na­tional’s English Ser­vice at New York Univer­sity on Oct 11.

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