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Taiwan ethnic minority artists welcomed during Olympic rehearsals
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08:27, July 30, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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The 102 ethnic Taiwanese performing artists were welcomed by mainland officials as they rehearsed their routine for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.

"We very much cherish this rare and significant opportunity to display our culture to the world," said troupe leader Kao Chin Su-Mei.

Yang Jing, Minister in Charge of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC), met with the Taiwan artists Tuesday.

"The Beijing Olympics is a dream shared by all Chinese at home and abroad. This dream will be realized on Aug. 8," Yang said. "I believe the performance of Taiwan ethnic minority artists will add glory to the opening ceremony."

Their presence showed Taiwan support for the Games, he said.

Most of the troupe members were amateur singers and dancers, but they were working hard to prepare for the performance, Kao said. "There are many moving stories."

Troupe member Wu Tsong-yi died of heart attack on July 24, four days before their departure on Monday. His father and younger brother, also troupe members, came to Beijing with other members after his funeral.

The troupe will perform for more than three minutes in the opening ceremony warm-up, which is to last from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Bird's Nest and the formal ceremony will start at 8:00p.m.

The artists will perform the Bunun Tribe's unique eight-note harmonies, the hair dance of Tau Tribe and other ritual dances of indigenous tribes.

Kao said all the members arrived in Taipei one day ahead of schedule on Sunday as they were worried Typhoon Fung Wong would ground flights.

In an earlier interview, many troupe members said they were keen to perform and to see the mainland.

Source: Xinhua

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