On 15 March 2020, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping wrote a letter to Party members born in the 1990s from Peking University's medical team who were sent to Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China. He extended sincere greetings to them and all the other young people fighting on the frontline of epidemic prevention and control, encouraging Chinese youth everywhere to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

In order to study and put into practice the important guiding principles of general secretary Xi’s letter to the young medical workers, and to develop a trend of earnestly studying, discussing, and practicing Xi’s remarks among the teachers and students of the Open University of China (OUC) system, the OUC launched a learning activity with the theme of Tell Stories of Progressive Youth Fighting the Epidemic. Cao Guoyong, executive deputy secretary of the OUC Party Committee, attended and spoke at the meeting.

Eight youth representatives from the frontline of the battle against the epidemic made speeches online. They shared their achievements and told stories about their experiences of fighting against the epidemic. The activity was jointly organised by the OUC Youth Federation, the Youth League Committee, and the Labour Union. Young teachers and students from the OUC system participated in the online learning activity which was presided over by Wen Shuyu, director of the OUC Youth Federation.

Sun Meihua, vice president of the Wuhan Branch

On 7 February 2020, the order was given to turn the Wuhan Branch into a temporary treatment centre. Over the course of three days and two nights, six dormitory buildings were emptied, with over 6,000 items belonging to students cleared. More than 200 staff members rushed to the Wuhan Branch from all over the city. They raced against the clock, made careful arrangements, and fulfilled the task as scheduled. Vice president Sun Meihua, the official in charge of the temporary treatment centre, coordinated all parties to ensure the smooth construction of the hospital.

Liang Xiaochang, a student from the Hebei Branch and a medical worker helping in Hubei

At 2 am on 4 February 2020, Liang Xiaochang, head surgery nurse of No. 1 People’s Hospital in Handan, Hebei province and a student of the Hebei Branch, was entrusted to lead a medical team consisting of nine backbone nurses to Wuhan for emergency assistance. The nursing team from Hebei arrived in Wuhan late at night and went straight to Wuchang Modular Hospital, taking on the first nursing shift in the temporary treatment centre. Liang Xiaochang didn’t take a day off for over a month. He and his comrades launched an activity entitled “As a Party Member, I Take the Lead.” Their protective suits were marked with the words “Communist Party Member.” All the nursed demonstrated their identity as Party members and advocated that the Party members among the patients do so as well. They handed out emblems of the Communist Party of China for them to wear and asked them to do their part in helping with patient management and promoting harmony between doctors and patients.

Chen Hua, a volunteer and student of Wuhan Branch

Chen Hua works at the Xinzhonghe Company of Wuhan Linkonggang Industrial Development and Investment Corporation. As a volunteer at Wuhan New Beacon Isolation Centre for Suspected Cases, Chen Hua served as leader of the disinfection team. Though the virus was highly infectious and it was very risky to enter patients’ rooms, he accepted the task without hesitation. Every day, 4,200 square metres of floor space and 1,200 square metres of public areas in 125 rooms over six floors served as the battlefield for Chen Hua and his team members and they met the target of zero infections in the disinfection team. During this period, Chen Hua served as a disinfection officer as well as a security officer, a food delivery person, a courier, and a repairman. Chen Hua recently submitted his application to join the Party soon after he entered the isolation centre. He said he will keep in mind the entrustment of general secretary Xi Jinping. In the days to come, he will work hard for the OUC, strive to temper his will and quality and develop excellent skills, and make more contributions to the future of China.

Wan Ting, a volunteer and teacher from the Hubei Branch

Wan Ting, a teacher from the Hubei Branch, was given a temporary position as a volunteer in the community where she lived. She participated in patrols to persuade people to stay at home and communicate epidemic prevention and control knowledge and requirements, and also helped to distribute goods. She undertook multiple roles in her epidemic prevention and control position. She was a phone operator and delivery lady who cared for the elderly, and she took good care of an 83-year-old woman living alone in the community. She was a meticulous and responsible cashier who had placed about 700 group purchase orders worth more than RMB 10,000 without making a single mistake. She wrote more than 50 articles sharing epidemic prevention and control information, writing one article a day.

Zhou Xiaorong, a medical worker and student from the Sichuan Branch

Zhou Xiaorong is a student at the OUC Sichuan Branch who is now working as director of the infection management department of Cangxi County People’s Hospital. While having Chinese New Year dinner on New Year’s Eve, Zhou Xiaoyong received the call to participate in the battle for epidemic prevention. Laying down her bowl and chopsticks, and bidding farewell to her parents and child, she drove to the hospital and went into work. As a medical professional at the designated hospital for COVID-19 patients, they checked fever patients, hospitalised suspected patients, and kept track of close contacts, putting them at high risk of infection. To achieve the two goals of zero infection and zero fatality, Zhou Xiaorong served as both an instructor and a fighter. She faithfully acted upon the missions and responsibilities of a medical professional, bringing her enthusiasm and original aspiration to the frontline of the battle against the epidemic.

Wei Junli and Li Lei, members of the police and students from the Shanxi Branch

Wei Junli and Li Lei, a couple, are members of the police and students at the Shanxi Branch. They were classmates and comrades in arms in the fight against the epidemic. In the face of the virus, they were loyal to their positions and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities, bringing their youthful strengths to the epidemic prevention and control. Wei Junli helped the people to solve practical problems such as visa expiration and conducted immigration investigations despite the risks. Her husband Li Lei also plunged into the fight against the epidemic, holding screenings, setting up check points, and going on night patrols without fail or complaint of tiredness.

Liu Wang, a journalist and student from the Gansu Branch

Liu Wang, a student from the Gansu Branch, recorded the efforts being made in the fight against the epidemic in Lixian County using his camera and his word. He kept fighting for more than one month and went to the hospital several times. He visited all four monitoring centres for epidemic prevention and control and other major traffic check points. He tried to achieve personal fulfil himself by acting as a chronicler of the epidemic, doing his bit to contribute to the victory of the epidemic prevention and control.

Huang Xin, a village official and student from the Henan Branch

Huang Xin, a student from the Henan Branch and a person in charge of a cooperative, succeeded in helping poverty-stricken farmers to sell around about 2,500 kg of agricultural products that had been held up as a result of blocked traffic during the crisis, generating a turnover of RMB 45,000. In response to the special conditions during the epidemic prevention, Huang Xin broadcast online courses on crayfish breeding technology to help with the resumption of production. He encouraged his employees to take an active part in performing duties at check points, to organise disinfection in the villages, and to spread knowledge of epidemic prevention and control. He also made donations and played the role of an enterprise.

Cao Guoyong, executive deputy secretary of the OUC Party Committee

On behalf of the OUC Party Committee, Cao Guoyong expressed his great respect to all people in the OUC who have worked unswervingly in the fight against the epidemic. He indicated that the OUC has taken multiple measures to coordinate its system for epidemic prevention and control during this special period. People from across the OUC system have stood together and helped each other, giving support to frontline prevention and control in Wuhan and Hubei. By giving full play to the advantages of Internet Plus Education, a lot of fruitful work has been done to enable the suspension of classes without stopping learning, which has drawn wide public attention. They have demonstrated that people across the OUC, including young people, attach fundamental importance to political construction and prioritise devotion and the capacity for the battle against the epidemic. He encouraged young people to make sure they have a profound understanding of the meaning of general secretary Xi’s letter, to keep in mind his entrustment, to grow while serving the people, to temper themselves through arduous work, to increase their abilities in practice, and to try to be new people who are undertaking a great mission in the new era.

The activity was broadcast through the OUC learning network (www.ouchn.cn) and the douyin and kuaishou apps. Around 160,000 young teachers and students in the OUC system participated in the online learning. They all said that they felt the truth of the words in general secretary Xi’s letter in their own actions, that “they had demonstrated through their actions that the Chinese youth of the new era can be entrusted with great missions.” The teachers and students of the OUC system will further stabilise their faith in endeavour and have the courage to shoulder the heavy responsibility of the era, to write a chapter of patriotism, and to let the flowers of youth bloom brightly.

The OUC leaders and some of the young staff members

By Zhang Jun, OUC