Saturday, October 14, 2006


For the past three days, the European Youth Forum hosted in Brussels a delegation of the All-China Youth Federation, led by its Secretary General, Mr Jiang Guangping. We invited our Chinese friends to come to visit us as a tribute to our own visit to Beijing and Tianjin last year. Many people and some youth organisations have criticised us for establishing, keeping and further developing relations with this organisation, due to the way in which China has been dealing with democracy, human rights and respect for diversity within its own borders. Even though I do acknowledge that China isn’t a democratic state, that human rights are largely disrespected there and that diversity isn’t a value promoted by its leaders, I have to confess that I do think that this co-operation is not only possible, but also needed. I’ll try to explain why.

Established in 1949, the ACYF is one of China’s basic people’s organisations led by the Communist Party of China. It is a federative body of Chinese youth organisations, with the Communist Youth League of China at its core. These are facts. On the other hand, through its 52 member organisations, the ACYF reaches over 300.000.000 young people across China. This is also a fact. Moreover, if it is true that its basic tasks include holding aloft the banners of patriotism and socialism, and encouraging young people to study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong thoughts and Deng Xiaoping theories; it is also true that ACYF aims to promote world peace, to represent and protect the legitimate rights of young people, and to promote youth participation and development. In recognition of its significant contributions to the youth and society, the ACYF was granted the Human Resources Development Award by UNESCAP in 1999, the World Youth Award by the UN in 2000 and the Champion of the Earth Award by UNEP in 2004.

The European Youth Forum and the All-China Youth Federation are certainly very different organisations from each other, but I don’t mind contributing for them to hold hands and strive together to promote global cooperation on youth issues, “for a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity”. I believe that our differences don’t need to be an obstacle for our co-operation. I believe that our differences don’t need to be disguised or forgotten. I believe that we can build a fruitful co-operation, based on sincerity and openness. I believe we can learn from each other and therefore improve both our organisations. And I believe that together we can work for a better world, not only for Europeans and Chinese, but for the young people from all around the globe.


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