US youth voice views on China

Updated: 2015-03-16 06:17

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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US youth voice views on China

Joan Chen, head of the jury, announces the winner for the Special Jury Prize at the "Youth Voices for China" contest awards ceremony held in San Francisco on March 14. [Photo by LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY]

"What is China? Why is understanding China so important to my future?"

A San Francisco-based organization is challenging the youth of America to think broadly about US-China relations by producing a short video reflecting on these questions.

Open to US residents aged 13 to 24, the "Youth Voices on China" online contest invited US students to submit short videos directed at their peers to inspire them to learn more about modern China, according the sponsor, the 1990 Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving relations between the people of China and the US.

Since the program was launched in October 2014, 80 videos have been submitted from individuals and teams, representing 50 different schools in 19 states, from New Jersey to Hawaii. The works of nine finalists were screened on March 14 in San Francisco, as part of an Asian American film festival.

"The videos were pretty broad in terms of topics," said Monica Lee, executive director of the 1990 Institute. "We had people talk about how big the market was, how many people are living in China, but we were also thrilled to see there were films on Alibaba, Guangxi, the NBA in China, and Inc commerce and social media."

"They are not just googling and finding research data; they actually went out and interviewed folks," she said.

Some students based their films on personal experience. In "Bryce Bell on China," an Afro-American student from California Polytechnic State University shared his two-week visit to China, where he and his group discovered the country by tasting the cuisine, seeing the sights and engaging with the locals.

"The next generation is both Chinese and American," he said in his film. "We have to work together to get to our common goal. It's not just one or the other."

In a silent film "What China Means to Me," Brian Fuller, a student from Colorado School for the Deaf & Blind, called for attention to children-trafficking in China by recounting his own childhood tragedy. The speaking- and hearing-impaired boy was kidnapped at a very young age in a rural Chinese village and ended up in an orphanage in Shanghai. He's never known the names of his parents or his hometown. In 2010, at the age of 14, he was adopted by an American family and moved to the US.

"What is China? It's my country. It's my blood. It's my history. China is precious to me. However, the child trafficking in China must stop," Fuller says in his film through sign language and subtitles. "If China will protect her children, that would improve the economy which would affect the whole country. A strong and healthy China means a strong and healthy world." He won the Special Jury Prize.

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