The future belongs to the young people and "our hopes also rest with them", Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said on Thursday.
Xi, who is also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in Beijing at a ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC.
One hundred years ago, a group of young people held high the torch of Marxism and started an arduous journey of exploring the prospect of national rejuvenation under great difficulty and hardship, Xi said.
"Since then, under the banner of the Communist Party of China, generation after generation of young Chinese have devoted their youth to the cause of the Party and the people, and remained in the vanguard of the drive to rejuvenate the nation," he said.
"In the new era, our young people should make it their mission to contribute to national rejuvenation and aspire to become more proud, confident, and assured in their identity as Chinese people so that they can live up to the promise of their youth and the expectations of our times, our Party, and our people."
At the ceremony, Beijing primary school students Yao Muchen and Peng Youxin, who represented the Chinese Young Pioneers, and university students Feng Lin and Zhao Jianming, who represented the Chinese Communist Youth League, saluted the Communist Party of China and expressed their commitment to the Party's cause.
The four students jointly delivered an affectionate ode to the Party. "Today, we make a vow to the Party: Listen to the Party's call, be grateful to the Party and follow its lead," they said in unison.
In order to realize the second centenary goal－to build China into a great modern socialist country by 2049, the centenary of the People's Republic of China, and achieve the great rejuvenation of the nation－young people are always prepared to fight for the socialist cause, they said.
"Rest assured, CPC, we are ready to build a powerful China," they repeated four times at the end of the ode.
Zhang Yujing, an undergraduate student at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said after watching the broadcast of the ceremony that she now has a greater understanding of the greatness of the country and the Party. "Without the CPC, there would be no New China," she said.
Du Chaofan, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Beijing Jiaotong University, said Xi expressed high expectations and delivered a rallying call to young people. Doctoral candidates are at the forefront of scientific research and the development of science and technology, which will significantly improve the nation's strength, she said.
"We are keenly aware of our great duty and responsibility, and we will always associate personal development with that of the country," she said.
Zhang Xi, an undergraduate student at Beihang University in Beijing, said he was excited that he was invited to attend the ceremony. "As an undergraduate student and Party member, we need to live up to the expectation of the times and become role models for other young people," he said. "As a future engineer, I am also ready to contribute to building a powerful China through technology."
Zhao Yimeng contributed to the story.