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[China-opinion]Onward to the goal[Page:1]

As always, the pitch of calls for patriotism was high yesterday when the country commemorated the national Youth Day and the 90th anniversary of the May 4th Movement.
We do not have to worry about our youth becoming unpatriotic. They are as patriotic as the preceding generations of the last 90 years.
The Olympic torch relay proved it. So did the Wenchuan earthquake. The post-1980 generation, once labeled politically indifferent and self-centred, almost overnight became bearers of the nation's hopes in the eyes of society.
The adorable new generation assures the nation its time-honored patriotic traditions are well and alive in our young citizens.
The true impe-rative of patriotic education in this country now is to help our youth tell the difference between nationalism and patriotism, or to be rational patriots. Society as a whole needs the sense that, led astray and taken to the extreme, blind patriotic zeal can be detrimental to the nation's dream of greatness. And, nationalistic sentiments will instead ruin national interests.


That is why we believe Mr. Democracy and Mr. Science, so addressed by the pioneers of the 1919 youth movement, should not take a backseat when we celebrate May 4th.
May 4th was not only about patriotism. Mr Democracy and Mr Science were two all-important guests invited from afar about a century ago to help bring about a national self-transformation.
Ninety years into their adventure in this country, Mr Democracy and Mr Science are still young here, people say. Indeed. But not because of their youthful vigor.
Instead, they are still too young to fulfill what was placed on their shoulders in 1919. The mission of May 4th is far from being completed.
Since our youth are told to carry forward the fine traditions of May 4th, they should, in the first place, be taught to be true believers in democracy and science. And, the message should be conveyed not just through hollow indoctrination. They need to see real-world evidence that society is serious about its verbal commitment to democracy and science.
To corroborate their high-flying rhetoric on patriotism, democracy and science, society's elders must behave in a manner that the young do not find their enthusiasm betrayed.
After all, corruption is unpatriotic. So are pseudo-democracy and pseudo-science. Both have one thing in common - they eat away trust and integrity, thus eroding the moral foundation of patriotism.
(China Daily 05/05/2009 page8)
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