UN chief pins high hopes on Chinese youth

Updated: 2014-08-17 07:10


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NANJING, China - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday encouraged Chinese young people to work together with global companions to address poverty, climate change and other critical issues that the world is facing at the moment.

Ban, who was here attending the opening ceremony of the second Summer Youth Olympic Games Saturday evening in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, conducted a dialogue with some 200 Chinese young people and representatives of youth organizations from other countries at the Nanjing University.

"As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I deal with the worst problems in our world - war, hunger, poverty and disease. Abuses of people's legitimate human rights. Environmental degradation and climate change," said Ban, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree of Nanjing University in 2010, during the dialogue.

"It is easy to lose hope - but I feel encouraged by the energy of youth," he said.

Stressing that "we have just 500 days before" the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, a global anti-poverty campaign, Ban said it is the time for youth to drive global action.

"China makes up the largest share of the largest generation of youth in history. We need you to succeed," said Ban.

He quoted remarks of Liang Qichao, a Chinese scholar in the Qing Dynasty and one of China's first democrats, to spur Chinese youth: If the youth are wise, society will be wise; if the youth are rich, society will be rich; if the youth are strong, society will be strong; if the youth are independent, society will be independent; if the youth are free, society will be free; if the youth progress, society will progress.

"I have high hopes for the great youth of China," the secretary-general said in Chinese.

On the Summer Youth Olympic Games, Ban said the United Nations strongly believes in the power of sport to promote global cooperation, understanding, health and friendship - especially for youth.

Ban said he hopes the Nanjing Summer Olympic Games will leave great legacy so as to promote peace and development and will help to bring harmony among people of different religions and different countries.

Yang Yang, a current member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and China's former short track speed skating Olympic champion, said in her address that though athletes compete on behalf of their own country, they have a common goal to be the best of themselves and to make the world better.

The Youth Olympics, a sporting event tailor-made for youth of the world, was proposed by former IOC President Jacques Rogge. Singapore held the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010. The second Summer Youth Olympics run from Aug 16 to Aug 28 in Nanjing.