Taicang Talks: Empowering Gen Z in China-Germany Relations

BEIJING, Nov. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Even mountains and seas cannot keep people with common aspirations apart. Close collaboration between Germany and Taicang, a small city in southern China, is a prime example of China’s openness and inclusiveness.

The fifth episode of season three of the China Daily series Youth Power, on the theme “Taicang talks: Empowering Gen Z in ChinaGermany relations”, was broadcast online on Oct 30. Gen Zers from China and Germany gathered in the Taicang to review achievements in 51 years of diplomatic ties between China and Germany and to look into the secrets of Taicang’s success.

For this episode, Gen Zers visited German companies in Taicang and explored their operations. They also engaged in a discussion on China-German collaboration and its future as well as the dual vocational education system, demonstrating the enthusiasm of youngsters to deepen cultural communication and collaboration between China and Europe.

In interviews with staff of German companies Gen Zers found out why Taicang has become what has been called the hometown of German companies in China, namely its proximity to the city of Suzhou and to Shanghai, the hospitality of Taicang people and its fair and transparent business environment. supported by the government. Taicang companies have also shouldered social responsibilities and played an active role in the green development of the city.

Gen Zers told of their experiences in both Chinese and German cultures. Leopold Lind, a German studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said China is a country with great prospects, which is why, he said, he returned to China to pursue his studies. The ubiquitous German features in Taicang demonstrate the broad-mindedness and harmonious lifestyle of China, he said.

Stefanie Perner, another German studying at Tsinghua, talked of the similarities in ancient Chinese philosophy and classical German philosophy.

Du Muqin of Peking University talked of the story of Cai Yuanpei, who helped establish and renovate the educational system at Peking University. He was greatly influenced by the experience of studying in Germany  and then welcomed scholars who dedicated themselves to the development of China.

Program guests remarked that despite differences between the Chinese and German educational systems, they may have complimentary advantages. In terms of education for children and adolescents, aimed at broadening the world view of students, Chinese schools have broad subject fields, guests said.

Maximilian Uebach, who graduated from both the Technical University of Berlin and Tongji University in Shanghai, said that in Germany pupils aged 10 are segmented according to their grades. Many students go to vocational schools without finishing high school. “I think this is something in Germany which is way too early. I would also prefer pupils to learn together a lot of broad perspectives and different subjects, until a certain later point.”

Melding the two educational systems could benefit society greatly. Taicang was cited as an example. Leopold said a fusion of the systems is possible and would be very productive. Maximilian said Taicang has a dual program in which skills are learned in a very specialized university, paving the way directly to employment. The primary program presenter Wang Licheng, a student at Peking University, said good communication between different cultures and societies can help improve educational systems.

This year marks the 51st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Both countries should continue to promote collaboration and stay on the right path of development, guests said. Germany has been a leading provider of green energy, they said, and China has been trying to catch up in regards to this and technological development. However, China is now the leading producer of solar panels. It is also a leader in making electric cars.

Johanna Mueller, a German studying at New York University Shanghai, praised Chinese technology, saying: “When I talk on the phone with my German friends and tell them about all these new technologies here in China, they’re like, ‘Oh my god, how would this work? And that’s so cool, and it’s so modern. It’s so futuristic.’ And I think there’s a big point of change.”

Du Muqin said both countries emphasize environmental protection and can work more closely together. Program guests said young people should seize opportunities to deepen China-German friendship and help improve collaboration between China and Europe.

Youth Power, organized by China Daily and first broadcast in June 2021, aims to build a global platform of communication and exchange, focusing on the interests and ideas of Generation Z. The program comes in the form of interviews, forums and speeches, with topics related to anything of current interest in the world.

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SOURCE China Daily

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