LATEST UPDATES (as of Jan 31, 2018)

  • POST-SUBMISSION UPDATE: If you've submitted your video to us, we will send you an INTERVIEW SUBJECT questionnaire regarding the required Interview Questions to complete, since we decided to keep our final videosubmission form shorter.

  • CONTEST TIPS: Whether it's rap, first person narratives, or cinema verite, get creative and don't limit yourself to the "2 talking heads doing Q&A against a wall" approach! Joan Chen and our judges really encourage creative ways to tell your story of what life in China is like through the lens of a mainland Chinese or any person who's frequent traveler to the PRC. Get inspired by CNN, CNBC, narratives, spoken word, cinema verite/sketches, parodies, talk show hosts like Jimmy Fallon and more
  • NEW TEACHERS: Be sure to register to be eligible for prizes and see the update on the 10-entries per division limit.

  • THE MANDARIN CATEGORY -- Note the 80% Mandarin dialogue clarification below in the Contest Basics section.

  • The Wed Jan 10 Kickoff Party at Google in San Francisco was a blast! Photos, contest tips from our speakers and video clips coming soon!

  • EP


    JC headshot_Jury200x176 Youth Voices on China is the 1990 Institute’s annual $30,000 video contest that engages youth age 13-25 to think more deeply about U.S.‐China relations and broaden their cross-cultural understanding, while helping hone their video literacy and social media skills.

    Through this creative video storytelling contest, we strive to empower young people to connect with others, make their voices heard, and ultimately help strengthen U.S.-China relations. In an increasingly globalized, interconnected world, our future depends upon the relationships America has with other countries, most notably China.

    For 2018, our fourth annual contest, we ask contestants to interview a mainland PRC Chinese person(s) (or others defined below) and capture diverse, compelling, colorful and highly personal anecdotes about life in mainland China -- from past childhood traditions, current life stories and life-changing experiences to future ambitions and challenges.

    We are seeking video submissions that feature first-hand accounts and creatively told stories that are heartfelt, entertaining, and/or might expand/change the audience's understanding of China and how the world works.


    Before you develop your 2-3 minute video submission, we suggest you review our *required interview questions* in the "Basics" section, as well as our Getting Started Page. There, you'll find interview techniques and tips, and ways to find interview subjects. ALso check out "What Makes A Great Story" by the StoryCorps founder.



    Whether your subject(s) are fellow students, regular folks, or iconic personalities, they must be one of the following:

    • Current citizens or residents of mainland China* (PRC)
    • PRC expatriates who emigrated from mainland China within the last 8 years (2009-2017)
    • Americans or anyone else currently working or studying in mainland China
    • Americans or anyone else who travels to mainland China regularly

    • Footage-wise, your interview can be conducted online and/or in person -- whatever is easiest.

      Note: we may verify the interview subject's status; email us at if you have eligibility questions.

      Also note: your interview subject(s) can be more than one person, e.g. a couple, co-workers, or family members, but make sure your video stays concise. We highly suggest you include some footage of the subject on-screen sharing their first-hand account.


    Your video's personal story relating to life in China should be authentic and intimate, and fall into one or more of these categories:

    • HOPES and DREAMS

    For more information, please visit our pages on:
    Getting Started | Video Submission Checklist | 2018 Official Contest Rules

    Tips on How to Win

    JP Enter today to potentially win part of our $30,000 in cash and prizes, from a trip to San Francisco for a fun red-carpet experience to video coaching from industry stars and experts, like in "The Voice."

    Our judges truly want to see highly personal stories about life lessons learned, unusual accomplishments, who inspires them, and a spectrum of stories of that illustrate the hopes and dreams and life in China's rapidly globalizing environment.

    Tip-wise, the more personal and powerful/englightening your subject's story is, the more likely you will get far in the Contest. You must also include all the items on our Video Submission Checklistand REQUIRED INTEVIEW QUESTIONS (see below).

    Creative Editing: Feel free to add cutaways, special techniques and effects --e.g. animation, stills, background footage, music, rap, third party testimonials, etc -- to make your subject's story more memorable and engaging....It is also up to you if you and/or the interviewer and the questions asked appear in the final video footage or not. First person narratives, "Q&A/Talking Heads" to dynamic approaches like cinema verite (where you engage with the subject) are welcome!

    See our Getting Started Page for sample interview questions, interview techniques and more.

    For additional inspiration, check out the amazing personal stories from NPR StoryCorps and Humans of New York (HONY), including its Vietnam, India and video sections.

    Here is a sample short HONY video that made us smile:

    2018 Contest Basics & Eligibility

    By entering our contest, you agree to our full 2018 Official Contest Rules.

    Here are the very basics of our rules:

    • Youth Voices is open to Entrants competing solo or on a team of up to 2 members. All must be between age 13-25, and must be a citizen of the United States, Canada or China, or a legal resident or non-alien resident of either country.
    • Entrants will compete in one of 4 divisions: Middle School, High School, College or Open. Your division is determined by your most senior registered team member.
    • Videos must be 3 minutes or less, address our "China: Collected Stories" theme above, and must feature a compelling profile of an interview subject sharing their personal stories of life or experiences in China
    • Submitted videos featuring mainland Chinese interview subjects MUST include answers to at least 2 of these REQUIRED FOUR interview questions below: (your submission form will ask for written answers to all 4; modified version of these questions are acceptable):

      1) What comes to mind when you think of America / The United States?
      2) What do you dream of doing or experiencing on a future trip to the U.S.?
      3) What life advice do you have for me (or young Americans)?
      4) Who is one of your favorite Americans -- dead or alive, and why?

    • Videos featuring non-PRC interview subjects MUST include answers to at least 2 of these REQUIRED FOUR interview questions below:

      (your submission form will ask for written answers to all 4; modified version of these questions are acceptable):

      1) What comes to mind when you think of the PRC?
      2) What do you dream of doing or experiencing on a future trip to the PRC?
      3) What life advice do you have for me (or young Americans)?
      4) Who is one of your favorite mainland Chinese persons -- dead or alive, and why?

    • Videos should be completed primarily in ENGLISH -- the official language of our contestAny NON-English portions MUST have English subtitles
    • We also accept MANDARIN-language entries, which are eligible for special "Best Mandarin Video" category awards. These videos' dialogue must be done 80% in Mandarin (including the interview footage). Any NON-English portions MUST have English subtitles. NOTE: if your interviewee(s) spoke in English, you may need to consider voicing over that dialogue in Mandarin and adding both Chinese AND English subtitles to qualify, versus letting their first-hand English account stand must decide what makes for a more powerful story and which category you or your teacher want you to compete in

    2018 Contest Judges & Coaches

    JC headshot_Jury200x176 Joan Chen, the celebrated actress, filmmaker and 1990 Institute Board Member, is our Jury President who heads up our prestigious jury panel.

    Judges and coaches will be announced shortly.

    See our 2018 Judging Criteria here.

    What is Youth Voices on China?

    Launched in 2014-2015, Youth Voices on China is is the 1990 Institute’s annual online video contest that leverages the power of video and social media to inspire and engage youth to positively impact the US-China relationship.

    Dialogue, cross-cultural understanding, and collaboration are the keys to a stronger US-China relationship, and we believe YOU — youth — have the power, ability, the voice, and the creativity to strengthen that relationship.

    Photo Credits: Beryl Chan, Siok Siok Tan

    Key 2018 Contest Dates

    Visit here for more key dates & details

    o Now thru Feb 15, 2018
    Students & teachers - Pre-register now to stay on top of contest updates!

    o Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018
    YVOC Kickoff Party with Joan Chen, WildChina CEO & author Mei Zhang and filmmaker James Q. Chan.
    At Google San Francisco
    Free for teachers, students & their guests!

    o Wed Jan 31, 2018
    Earlybird Entries due @ 11:59 PM PST

    o Wed Feb 28, 2018
    Final Submissions due @11:59pm PST

    o After Mar 10, 2018
    Semi-Finalists Announced + Public Vote Challenge

    o After Mar 20, 2018
    Finalists Announced & Coaching Begins

    o Sunday, April 15, 2018
    Finalists' Coached Showcase Videos Due @ 11:59 PM PDT

    o Sun May 6, 2018
    YVOC Video Festival & Awards Bash
    San Francisco Venue TBA
    Sunday Brunch TBA
    1pm-3pm Tentatively

    News & Events

    Get tickets now for our Jan 10 event!

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    Thanks to our Partners

    About Us
    The 1990 Institute was founded by a San Francisco Bay Area group of prominent academic, business, and community leaders. We are a non-political, 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to broaden understanding and build trust between the people of the United States and China through education, philanthropy and collaboration.
    Get in Touch
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    PO Box 383
    San Francisco, CA 94104-0383, USA
    Tel: +1 (888) 990-1990

    © 2018 Youth Voices on China