Professor Jin Yuanpu founded the Humanistic Olympics Studies Centre of the Renmin University of China in October 2000 and has since served as its executive director.
China Daily reporter Zhu Linyong interviewed Jin on the Olympic Movement and its significance for China. The following are edited excerpts.
What is the mission of the Humanistic Olympics Studies Centre?
The centre is a national-level research institution and a key advisory body, endorsed by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and formed to study vital issues related to the Olympic Movement.
Can you explain the term "Humanistic Olympics?"
Beijing has promised the world that the 2008 Olympic Games will be a "High-Tech Olympics," a "People's Olympics" and a "Green Olympics." To my understanding, a "People's Olympics" must be a humanistic, cultural event.
When the whole world has its eyes on the Games, we Chinese should take the opportunity to show our international visitors the best sides of the Chinese people and culture, to achieve a deeper understanding of peoples and cultures from all over the world and enhance mutual respect, trust and friendship.
What have you been doing to help spread the Olympic spirit through China?
Over the past few years, the centre has played an active role in promoting the Olympic spirit among Chinese people.
We have staged art exhibitions, quiz shows, lectures, and seminars on Olympic culture and art, as well as organizing design contests for Beijingers, especially young people who want to get involved in the preparations for the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
I myself have given at least 100 lectures in Beijing and elsewhere in China. I have also taken part in TV and radio shows as well as on-line broadcasts on Olympic culture.
Since 2003, the centre has acted as the key organizer of the annual International Forum on the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, attended by researchers, officials and people from the sports industry.
Besides promoting Olympic culture, we now have at least 12 projects under way, including the Olympic Games' Global Impact Project (OGGI), authorized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the Olympic Culture Industry and Beijing City Development Research Project.
So far, we have published seven books, including research reports and textbooks for students and adults about the Olympic movement.
How many researchers do you have? How do you carry out specific programmes?
We do not have many full-time staff at the centre. But for each of the research programmes, we will hire researchers and specialists from Beijing, and other parts of China, sometimes even from abroad.
People from various backgrounds will come together for a certain project
authorized and commissioned by the Humanistic Olympics Studies Centre, with the key researcher as a "project manager."
You have stressed the importance of Olympic education and called it the "soul of the Olympic culture." Can you explain?
Not many people today are aware that education was at the core of the Olympics when Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin, known as the "father of modern Olympism," established the Olympic Movement in 1896.
The movement has always depended on its diversity and the combination of sports, culture and education.
The Olympic Movement, with the core values of mutual respect, friendship, solidarity and fair play, serves to bring people together, to educate them, to teach them, to respect and tolerate others, and to live in peace and harmony by experiencing competition in a peaceful way.
To ensure the healthy development of the Olympic Movement, it is critical to strengthen Olympic education and to foster the Olympic spirit in the hearts of future generations.
I believe that the Olympics without education would be meaningless. Sports without culture and education would be like a body without a soul.
In your view, what will be the major legacies of the 2008 Olympics?
The 2008 Games will have a far-reaching impact upon the host city and its people, from improving infrastructure, the natural environment and Beijing's international image, to upgrading its industries.
Also, the 2008 Olympics will involve the largest country and participating population on earth in the Olympic Movement, which is no doubt a milestone in more than 100 years of modern Olympic history. The three concepts of the Beijing Olympics "Green Olympics", "High-Tech Olympics," and "People's Olympics" if fulfilled, will present a model for future Games.
Will the research centre function after 2008?
Yes, of course. We will offer consultation for future Olympic host cities. More importantly, we will be engaged in the OGGI programme to evaluate the social, environmental, cultural, and economic impact of the Olympic Games on the host city and the rest of the world in general.
The long-term project that we will work on after the 2008 Games is a report commissioned by the IOC. So, we have much work to do in the coming years.
Source: China Daily