Commencement Address by Professor SHI Anbin for the TSJC's GBJ class of 2017

June 28, 2017

    On behalf of the School and in the name of Dean LIU, Binjie(柳斌杰), first of all, I should convey my heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2017 of the MA program in Global Business Journalism (GBJ), with the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University (TSJC). Today is your day; you are all the shining super stars!

    I should also thank all faculty, staff, sponsors, parents and friends to make these young ladies and gentlemen to fulfill their Chinese dream in the “Tsinghua Garden”, one of the most beautiful campuses around the globe recognized by Forbes. Among others, I would make a special mention of wonderful work done by the GBJ co-directors, Professors HANG, Min and Rick Durham, and last but not the least, our hard-working and customer-friendly GBJ officers, Ms. Rose Li and Ms. Sarah Ma.

    In particular, I want to acknowledge the persistent support from International Center for Journalists(ICFJ)and Bloomberg, to make this program happen and sustain for the decade. We are now proudly marking GBJ’s 10th anniversary.

    As always, I want to pay a special tribute to the founders of GBJ program, the School’s founding Dean, Professor FAN Jingyi(范敬宜), and to our former executive dean, Professor LI Xiguang(李希光),for their foresight of internationalizing journalism education in China.

    During the two-year stay in Tsinghua, the Class of 2017 has the privilege of witnessing China’s dramatic transformation against the backdrop of this post-West, post-Order and post-Truth world. In a cover story, the British news magazine The Economist hailed China as ‘the global grown-up’, relishing the irony the magazine, an ardent advocate of free market capitalism, noted: ‘at a time of global uncertainty and anxiety for capitalists’ it wrote, ‘the world’s most powerful communist presenting himself as a champion of globalisation and open markets’ (Economist, 2017).

    The coming of “China century” in lieu of “American century” is no longer an urban legend. On the other hand, the US-UK media duopoly will be also challenged by the rise of the Rest, representing by amplified voices from CCTV, Russian Today, The Time of India and Al Jazeera, among others.

    In the meantime, we are also witnessing the soaring impact of China’s leadership heralded by President Xi Jinping, who is also a Tsinghua alumnus, or “Uncle Xi,” as social media users put it, and his notion of “Chinese Dream” and his grand strategy of “One Belt, One Road, ”or the B&R Initiative, reviving the historical legacies of ancient silk road on the land and by the sea, and ensuring the world that the Sino-globalization, in the wake of Anglobalization and Americanization, would bring forth peace and prosperity under the Confucian aegis of “harmony” and “benevolence”, what might become the world’s largest infrastructural intervention, encompassing 900 projects (valued at about $1.3 trillion) involving 65 countries, 4.4 billion people and 29 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The good news is that the BRI’s followers are still increasing with the latest interest expressed by US President Donald Trump and California Governor Jerry Brown, which means B&R has been endorsed by both parties in the US, the rare consensus reached in the recent years.

    However, the world still holds an ambivalent attitude toward China, with half positive and another half negative toward China, according a Pew Center survey released in June. Thus, China’s charm campaign to better her national image and enhance her soft power becomes a timely urgency. As future journalists and communicators, the GBJ graduates have therefore been empowered to analyze the China and global interactions with a more multicultural and diverse perspective in this globalized environ of TSJC, the most internationalized journalism school in China. One case in point is Mr. Park Jin-bum, class of 2010, who is serving as producer for Korea Broadcasting Corporation (KBS) and presented the widely acclaimed documentary “Super China” in February 2015. Eric Fish published his book “China’s Millennial Generation” in August 2015 and Jordyn Dahl was appointed columnist for Forbes to cover China’s High-Tech Revolution starting from April 2017. We commend these achievements not merely because of their appraisal for China’s progress in the past decade, but more importantly for their unbiased, in-depth outlook of China’s complexities and challenges.

    Since its launching in September, 2007, the GBJ program, as the first all-English-taught MA program in journalism in Chinese mainland, has successfully incorporated the various media philosophies and praxis from both China and the rest of the world, and created an integrative teaching and learning environment with the participation of nearly 30 faculty members and over 200 students from China and over 60 different countries, constituting a growing United Nations of Media in a journalism school.

    One of the emergent global issues is the economic disparities and social injustice, not merely seen in China, but also adequately showcased in Europe and America’s increasing trend of “anti-globalization.” It is in this light that the Chinese Dream is bearing global potency and relevance. As Tsinghua Alumnus “Uncle Xi” succinctly put it, Chinese Dream is people’s dream which provides adequate chances for every “small potato” to shine on their own stage and to make their life meaningful and valuable. Thus, as business journalists or media professionals, you must always keep in your mind that whenever and wherever you are making news coverage: to lend a helping hand to the downtrodden, to give voice and stage for the small potato to shine up, and ultimately to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

    In her speech delivered to Tsinghua students in March 2015, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust addressed the importance of facing the challenges of climate change by way of the collaboration of global universities, particularly the leading institutions like Harvard and Tsinghua. According to her, the university’s primary task is “how to think different about we inhabit the Earth…Where better to meet this challenge than in Beijing and Boston?”

    To follow President Faust’s self-flattering yet more duty-laden words, I believe that all the GBJ degree holders are not merely showing off your Tsinghua diploma, but have truly gained the consciousness and responsibility of thinking“different” in Tsinghua during the past two or three years. I hope your Tsinghua way of thinking different for humankind will sustain in your entire life.

    In conclusion, I am proud of you all and wish you the greatest success in your future career development and lifelong pursuit of freedom, equality and happiness for mankind. Wherever you are booming or roaming, please bear in mind that we are always waiting for you right here, in Tsinghua, your eternal sweet home and haven. Whenever you encounter ups and downs, ebb and flows, trials and tribulations, there is always a telepathic melody that all the GBJ faculty and students will sing along: Tsinghua, you raise me up! GBJ, you raise me up!