People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, carried an editorial entitled 2008: A Great Year, when the new year was ushered in. The article had initially bewildered some overseas Chinese who found nothing different about the beginning of the year. So, why and how could the year 2008 loom so large and be called a great year? Chinese people at home and abroad have, by the end of the first 6 months, realized that this was not an exaggeration.
With the Olympics approaching, and in the run-up to Games, China solemnly has proclaimed to the whole world: we are ready. The Bird's Nest is now ready to host friends flocking together from various parts of the world. Beijing is counting down to the glorious moment when distinguished friends from different countries and regions get together in the same sports arena.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, after much hesitation and deliberation, has finally pledged to attend the opening ceremony. He initially aroused general indignation among the Chinese people, as he used his attendance at the Olympic ceremony as a bargaining chip for political gain, speaking and behaving in ways unbefitting of a leader. He has now turned to believe any boycott against Beijing Olympic Games would be irrational and irresponsible; and would ultimately fail. The Chinese, a time-honored friendly people, always show hospitality to anyone with integrity and sincerity; and meanwhile, will warmly welcome to all those who come to Beijing to compete in the spitir of the Olympics.
Admittedly, China surprised the world in its Olympic bid with an approval rating above 90 percent among the general public, as Olympic bids in the past have been known to stir contention and even dissent. Perhaps, it really takes time and patience to understand a civilization with such a long history and continuous development.
The year 2008, entangled in a web of laughter and tears, has attested to China's resolve to present the world with a splendid sports gala, as was promised seven years ago. And the world will continue to witness China's substantial progress in its drive to modernize and efforts to integrate into the international community. When the holy wreath of the Olympics crowns the Great Wall, the ancient Olympic Games will be endowed with an unique charm.
'We are ready,' as one slogan goes, is not only embodied in the preparation that goes into a sporting event, but also in the readiness to embrace various cultures and concepts. Traditional Chinese philosophy and culture are a protective camouflage like the Great Wall - the symbol of the Chinese nation. This reflects China's defense against encroaching foreign civilizations in history.
However, the thirty years of reform and opening up to the outside world has turned out a modern and open China, as well as a country which has stepped into the spotlight of the global arena. China is now ready to greet the upcoming Olympics with great sincerity by showcasing both its strengths and weaknesses. Rain or shine, we are ready to present the world with a one of a kind Olympics and are convinced that the year 2008 will be more harmonious and auspicious with the advent of the Olympics.
By People's Daily Online