Congratulations to the four
winners of our 2018 Contest

Announced at our May 20, 2018 grand finale, our winning video contestants ranged in age, in geography and in subject matter, but were united in creativity and spirit. Don't miss these four videos below. Each is less than three minutes, but will leave a lasting impact.

UPDATES | May 25, 2018


  • LIST OF ALL 2018 AWARD WINNERS: Congratulations to all of our winners -- 15 Finalists, 29 Semi-Finalist Teams, 3 Public Vote Winners, two Early Bird Winners from 'Iolani School, Teacher MPV Winner, 'Iolani Mandarin Teacher Ngan-Ha Ta, and more See the full winners' list here.

  • NEWEST PRIZE: Open Division Showcase Winners Li Chaohui and Dong Zhuoren, the team behind "Chengdu Colors," were the lucky winners who earned a 3-night stay at the WildChina Villain Yunnan, China, courtesy of WildChia CEO Mei Zhang

  • REGISTERED TEACHERS We will email you regarding your entry for teaching prize.

OUR 2018 CONTEST: Mainland China Stories

2017 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 storytelling and social media prowess -- important skills to have in today's global workplace.

Through our 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 people-to-people relationships America has with other countries, most notably China.

For 2018, our fourth annual contest, we asked contestants age 13-25 to interview one or more mainland Chinese person(s)...or Americans or other nationalities who are frequent travelers to mainland China.

We asked that these CHINA: COLLECTED STORIES videos capture diverse, compelling, colorful and highly personal anecdotes about LIFE IN MAINLAND CHINA -- either firsthand stories from their interview subject(s) on their challenges, life-changing experiences, heroes, future ambitions and dreams, to videos weaving in a frequent mainland China visitor's anecdotes and encounters with locals. Or, it could be a contestant's own personal story about his/her experience in mainland China.

We ask that these videos make our judges and the audience laugh, cry, smile, and/or awed and enlightened!


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, family members, yourself or iconic personalities, they must be one of the following:

  • Current citizens or residents of mainland China* (PRC)
  • Mainland China expatriates who emigrated within the last 8 years (2009-2017)
  • Americans or those of other nationalities else currently working, traveling or studying in mainland China
  • Americans or others who travel to mainland China regularly

  • Footage-wise, your interview can be conducted online (via Skype or Zoom Confererence with their recording tools) 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, but make sure your video stays concise. We highly suggest you include some footage and/or audio and images 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:


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 Judging Criteria, Jury & Coaches

See our 2018 Judging Criteria here.
Heading up our jury is 1990 Institute board member and celebrated actress/filmmaker Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks, Marco Polo), also our contest co-founder. Some of our past and continuing 2018 judges and coaches include:

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.

So whether your entry is heartfelt, entertaining, or downright hilarious, we are excited that your video is helping put a HUMAN FACE on China, and helping to enlighten or change the world's understanding of China, its culture and its people.


Photo Credits: Beryl Chan, Siok Siok Tan

Download the Contest Flyer

(v. 2018.Mar01)

Key 2018 Dates

o Sun May 20, 2018
2018 YVOC Video Festival & Awards Bash (TBD),
12:45pm-3pm at Smith Rafael Theater, San Rafael, CA; plus pre-Festival lunch reception.

Past Events

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

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

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