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What do we display to the world in the Olympics
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09:22, August 10, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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Some media called the opening ceremony of this Olympic games as "a Chinese-style display". I feel this is quite interesting, and it makes good sense too. Zhang Yimou, the director of the opening ceremony, explained the theme of his work in this way, "what we want to express in it is 'who we are', as well as the idea of 'you and we are actually a family'. And it is also the sensual and humanly explanation of the slogan 'one world, one dream'.

The sensual and humanly part can be presented in the grand performances of an opening ceremony, but how should be the logical and tangible gist that upholds this Olympic games be reflected? In other words, what do we display to the world in the Olympics? After much consideration, I think we mainly display the following three aspects:

First, it is a display of the governmental capability. The Chinese government faced a unprecedented challenge immediately after the successful Olympic bidding seven years ago. As the games was drawing near, the challenge became even more formidable. We hardly had time to get our breath back after finishing the "hardware" projects such as the construction of venues --- the relatively easier part of the challenge --- when more pressure followed like a shadow: security, humanities environment, resources distribution relating directly or indirectly to the games, and coordination challenges. Living in Beijing, recently we felt from the traffic restrictions, security measures and opening ceremony rehearsals the tension and palpitation with the approaching of the Olympics. Yet as we walked in the streets of Beijing, we also noticed that there were less traffic and cars were moving faster; the air conditioning in buses were cooler and buses were less crowded; there were flowers and plants everywhere and the city was cleaner and tidier. It seemed that people were more relaxed and enjoyed themselves more. World celebrities entered our camera now and then at the Capital International Airport and the Olympic Village. From the first impressions they expressed about Beijing, we know that Beijing already possessed the solid foundation of "hosting the best ever Olympic games". "The display of the governmental capability" should leave good impression to the world.

Secondly, it is a display of the spirit of Chinese people. In today's world, there are probably not many people who still perceive Chinese people as "man having pigtails and women with wrapping feet" as is seen in the Hongkong kung fu movies, but the anecdotes about uncivilized and orderless Chinese are widespread around the world. Of course many of them were exaggerated stereotypes but we have to admit the exaggerations and stereotypes have their sources and the bad image of Chinese people has its reason. In reality, the Chinese people has become better educated with the development of economy in recent years. As Chinese and Beijingers, are we ready? what should we show to the world?

Thirdly, it is a display of Chinese culture. The Chinese language, literature, art and other spiritual assets including ideology are mysterious and incomprehensible to many foreigners. The influence power of a nation or a people depends largely on the penetrability of these cultural forms. For the mysterious part, we need to show it; for the incomprehensible part, we need to proof it with results. Not long ago, some foreign media published sarcastic and cynical articles on the passion of China to "eagerly host an excellent Olympics". While some of these were hostile slanders, we understand many more are results of understanding deviations caused by value and cultural differences. This explains why Beijing Olympic Games is a valued and worthwhile cultural display.

China needs to display itself and the world longs to know China. The Olympic games provides such a golden chance. In the period of Olympic games, the governmental capability, the spirit of the people as well as the Chinese culture will be displayed to the world systematically. This time we take the initiative.

By People's Daily Online

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