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A surprise gift and a promise

Updated: May 5,2015 5:39 PM

Members of the THU Makerspace read Premier Li Keqiang’s letter which was delivered to them on May 4, China’s Youth Day.

Several young students of a maker association at Tsinghua University were in for a surprise from Premier Li Keqiang on May 4, China’s Youth Day. In a letter, the Premier encourages the young makers to be adventurous and innovative, and start their own business.

The letter — regarded as a gift by the college students — signals the Premier’s will and faith in paving the road to a better environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, which, as he noted at a seminar with foreign experts on Feb 10, is one of the highlights of current economic reform.

Derived from the West, the word “maker” -- which primarily means people who are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and innovation — has gradually become a hot topic in China. The Premier explicitly pointed out in his Government Work Report in March that public entrepreneurship and innovation are “two engines” to drive the Chinese economy, which is experiencing downward pressure.

To boost the new engines of the economy, the government is ready to formulate more preferential policies for “makers” who are innovative and, more importantly, able to create more jobs. As makers, young people are energetic and creative, which make them a dominant driving force in making a change.

“The most important part of public entrepreneurship and innovation is to encourage people’s creativity, especially young people whose willingness and determination leads to a prosperous and vigorous society and country,” Li said in the letter.

For the students in Tsinghua University, the letter is an inspiration to move forward. “Maker used to be a less-popular word. But now, the Premier’s words encourage us a lot,” Bi Ying, a member of Makerspace in Tsinghua, said enthusiastically.

Sun Hongbin, deputy director of academic affairs at Tsinghua University, said the Premier’s letter sends a message not only for makers in Tsinghua University but also for makers all around the country.

For makers, a positive and friendly environment is critical. Wang Hao, a veteran maker, still remembers the skepticism he was greeted with when he gave up a high-paying job in the United States and came back to set up his own business.

But such sentiments will soon be a thing of the past for young makers as the Premier’s words give them confidence that the environment will become more and more favorable for makers.

As the Premier noted in the letter, the government will push forward more preferential policies for makers, and young makers feel there is a new era around the corner.

For the Tsinghua students, the letter is a gift. But for all makers, it is a promise they have been waiting for.