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Spectatorship is also a competition
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15:46, August 05, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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"It is so rare and amazing for the Olympics to be held right at one's front door. It doesn't matter how hot and tired you are waiting on a line for tickets. If you can just get a ticket, it's worth it." A person waiting on line for Olympics tickets expressed this. In the last round of selling in the remaining days before the Beijing Olympics, tickets for all competitions have been sold out. From this, one can see just how much the Chinese people care about the Olympics.

At present, those fortunate enough to be spectators along with everyone else are eagerly waiting, waiting for the amazing competitions to begin. People are also looking forward to the cultured refinement shown by the very welcoming Chinese crowds which will win the world's praise.

Not long ago, foreign media were concerned that Chinese only knew to applaud for their own country and would boo other countries' athletes. Many Chinese were also concerned. "Should Chinese spectators stand up when other countries' national anthems are played?" "Do athletes who didn't win a gold medal still get applauded by their countrymen?" Some are worried about whether spectators can refrain from shouting profanities that they are accustomed to using.

These concerns are not unfounded. At the end of 2004, during an international ping-pong tournament held in Beijing, the flash of a spectator's camera went off at the exact moment one of the athletes was swinging his paddle. It affected the game, and that athlete was very upset, throwing his paddle onto the table. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, during the finals for ladies' doubles, Qiao Yunping was about to hit the ball when a spectator from Shandong suddenly shouted in his local dialect, "Go, Qiao Yunping!" Hearing her local dialect might have been heartwarming, but she missed the ball.

Of course, those are exceptions. Among the maturing crowds of Chinese spectators, concerns are all part of self-examination. This adds to the capability of individuals to be well-mannered spectators. As more Chinese spectators remind themselves how to act more appropriately, trying hard to avoid any uncultured behavior, they will also think: how can we gain the world's esteem?

The Beijing Olympics are the centennial dream of the Chinese people, and they are a window and platform for mutual understanding between the world and China. This is the basic understanding held by the Chinese people. Therefore, all Chinese are looking at themselves critically, urging themselves to show the world how cultured they are, displaying the spirit and style of the Chinese people. The behavior of Chinese spectators during competitions is an important part of the image, spirit, and style of the Chinese people which will be seen by the world through the Olympics. Every Chinese citizen should take initiative to uphold the country's image.

Competitions without spectators are not very interesting, but uncivilized behavior by spectators is very disappointing. Spectators are part of a competition's success. Based on this reasoning, every spectator is also participating in an invisible competition, competing to reach a more cultured level of behavior. In the eyes of observers, this is an even more intense competition of cultural refinement. Chinese people will be compared with how they acted in the past as well as how they measure against foreigners. Thus, how can we avoid caring about others' observations and judgment of us, and how can we choose not to act in a welcoming, cultured, and polite manner, leaving others with a positive impression that is hard to forget?

"When you stand on a bridge to look at scenery, a person standing above you looking at scenery sees you as well. As the bright moon illuminates your window, you illuminate the dreams of others." This is from the famous poem "Short Essay" by contemporary poet Bian Zhilin. We strongly believe that Chinese spectators will be able to become beautiful scenery in the eyes of the world.

By People's Daily Online

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