BEIJING, Aug. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Young Chinese and Russians get together for a little game and a long chat, and slowly the cultural stereotypes begin to dissolve
“Выходила на берег Катюша, На высокий берег, на крутой…（She came out and went ashore, Katyusha! On the lofty bank, on the steeply shore…)” The melodious singing of the Russian folk song Katyusha, to the accompaniment of a guitar, rang out in Beijing on Aug 30, a balmy summer’s night in the Chinese capital.
The teens who sang the song, in both Chinese and Russian, were taking part in the third episode of Youth Power, a popular internet program that has been broadcast since June. The theme for the episode was “Mystery gifts for neighborly friends”, and it lived up to its promise of being full of surprises, with young people from China and Russia presenting mystery gifts to each other.
In the episode young people from China and Russia discussed their wonderful cross-cultural experiences, demonstrating the rich culture of China and Russia, celebrating both their similarities and their differences, and establishing greater friendship.
That famous line from the film Forest Gump, “Life’s like a box of chocolates; you never know what you ‘re going to get”, worked its magic in the program. One reason for the choice of “blind box” as a hook for the episode was that the term has been extremely popular on the internet in China in recent months, and the use of blind boxes in the program proved to be popular among young people across the globe.
The Chinese and Russian youths exchanged blind boxes as offerings of popular items that represent their cultures, and used them as starting points to discuss food, clothing, housing, popular culture, language learning and many other things.
The teenagers in Beijing and St. Petersburg connected with each other online as the gifts were opened. Amid much chatter and a lot of laughter they were able to lance some of the stereotypes that Chinese and Russians often apply to one another and gain a deeper appreciation of the cultures of the two countries.
Serious cultural and social issues were discussed, such as women’s appearance anxiety, the meaning of learning classic literature, the differences in Chinese and Russian artistic styles, and the cultural connotations carried by languages.
After the exchange of gifts and the discussion, thought-provoking speeches on topics such as Chinese and Russian culture, language and cross-cultural communications were delivered by two each of the Russian and Chinese participants.
When Nik Gu, a second-year student at Tsinghua University in Beijing who with his family emigrated from Russia to China 16 years ago, said he could not speak a word of Chinese when they arrived.These days he could be mistaken for a native Chinese speaker, with a Beijing tinge to his accent. He has learnt Chinese calligraphy, martial arts and even something about traditional Chinese medicine and taken part in numerous diplomatic events in China. “China has become my home,” he said,
Qu Jiaxin, a graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said she always jokes that she did not chose to learn Russian but that it chose her. In the first two years of Russian studies, she said, she could not get into the language. That all changed in the summer of 2019 when she visited Russia. After talking to a young Russian about their country’s varied, yet similar, histories, she finally felt the strong bond between China and Russia. It is, she said, a mutual understanding based on cultural resonance and similar historical experiences.
Alisa Topchiy, 23, who is studying at St. Petersburg State University, said she considers herself a global citizen. One striking story she recounted related to a plate of Chinese dumplings. “Food can cause a storm of emotion … [and] joint tasting of foreign dishes unites, and some kind of special relationship is struck up between you.” She encouraged everyone to try traditional Chinese food and said she wished there were more intercultural opportunities for young Chinese and Russians to build strong friendships.
Li Weichen, who is studying Russian language and culture at Shanghai International Studies University, told of her childhood awe on seeing sparks of excitement in her grandmother’s eyes as the old woman recalled writing letters to a Russian pen pal. Years later Li found her own sparks of excitement through Russian literature. “Our scattered sparks light up our passion for language and literature, strengthen mutual communication and collaboration and illuminate the ever-closer bonds that China and Russia enjoy,” she said
Youth Power is an internet broadcast that first aired early this year, and is a creation of China Daily, conceived with the interests and ideals of Generation Z – people aged between about 10 and 25 – in mind that aims to build a platform for communication and exchange worldwide. It also aims to provide an insight into the perspectives of young people on the state of the world and encourage them to think about issues and motivate them to play their role in making the world a better place.
The program comes in the form of interviews, forums and speeches, with topics related to anything of current interest in the world. Since Youth Power was first broadcast in June it has been watched by hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. The first episode attracted about 130 million views and the second 150 million views.
SOURCE China Daily