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Sunday, January 02, 2000, updated at 10:25(GMT+8)
Education Chinese Students Say 21st Century Brings New Hope

The 21st century teems with hope and opportunities for both China and individual Chinese, many college students believe.

"I'm excited about the news that China may join the World Trade Organization, because this will bring huge development opportunities to the nation," said Ding Sai, who studies international economics at Tianjin-based Nankai University.

Ding said, however, that China can only find a foothold in the world by increasing its industrial strength, as the country still lags far behind developed countries in a number of fields.

"In the new century, every one of us should have a strong sense of competition," she noted.

One graduate student at Shanghai-based Fudan University, Wu Yanyuan, said the new century will bring even more rapid changes and exert greater pressures on people, but will at the same time offer more opportunities.

"We must work hard to improve our abilities because opportunities always await those who are well prepared," she said.

Chen Jiabin, a second-year graduate student at the Shanghai University of Communications, said he has set a clear goal for the new century, "to become an excellent entrepreneur."

Last year, Chen, whose major is kinetic and energy engineering, launched a nine-member campus company to develop new technology. The firm, registered with a capital of 800,000 yuan ( about 100,000 US dollars), also provides consultation services.

As both a student and a manager, Chen has a much busier schedule than most of his classmates.

Li Hui, a first-prize winner in the Competition of National College Students in Extracurricular Scientific and Technological Products, said he intends to devote himself to life science, a field that is gaining in popularity.

Li, a genetics student at Fudan University, said he plans to gather first-hand human genetic information from northeastern China, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Tibet.

Together with several other student representatives, Li rang a 750-kilogram bell on the campus yesterday evening.

Although Chinese college students are full of expectations for the new century, they are not overly impressed.

One Beijing student said the new century is merely an artificial time definition, which cannot reduce the gap between China and developed countries overnight. In addition, the world is far from peaceful.

Yu Hua, a student at the Chinese Language Department of Beijing University, said China suffered from foreign aggression, wars, and poverty at the beginning of the 20th century.

The start of 21st century is much different, as China is no longer a weak nation, and as its influence grows, more and more foreigners may come to China to study, he said.

Zhang Yuan, a student at Nankai University, said that information technology will continue to develop robustly.

He said China has a strong contingent of information technicians, and the government has adopted a sound policy for the development of the industry. In the new century, the Chinese people will be able to fully display their wisdom and talents as their country forges ahead on the information tide.

Fang Jiangang, a junior in the Mathematics Department of Beijing University, said the 21st century brings new hope to people, and hope is what pushes people to create a better life.

He fancies that in the next century China may have universities as famous as Harvard, Cambridge, and Yale, producing a number of Nobel Prize winners.

In the new century, he said, what can be envisaged for China is nearly limitless.

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