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An opportunity for China and for the world
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16:09, August 12, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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For centuries, the world has never seen China enter such a role.

As the curtain of the Olympic Games was lifted, such an emotional scene was seen on the Beijing Olympic stage: under the five-ring flag, athletes from 204 countries and territories, more than 30,000 journalists and more than 80 foreign leaders had gathered there to make modern Olympic history. The opening ceremony, soaked in 5,000 years of culture, was narrating gently to the world the story of this vibrant land.

Yes, maybe you already know about China. You are familiar with the economic China from shirts, toys and other daily articles that are "made in China.” And you have had a taste of "the cultural China" from the blockbusters Kong fu Panda and Mulan. But still, these bits and pieces of experience or conceptual descriptions only give a picture of an "imagined China" - full of charm and a little fearful. The true story of this ancient nation lies in land.

President Hu Jintao says, "The Beijing Olympic Games is not only an opportunity for China, but also for the world." As the host nation of the Olympics, "China has opened a window from which the outside can know the most populous country in the world." The Olympic Games has created an opportunity for understanding and communication between cultures.

Its history, scale, and even opportunities, all make China seem so unique. It is a nation with the largest population, the fastest development speed, the most abundant foreign currency reserve and 5,000 years of culture and tradition. With a social system and values different from the west and with multiple identities and characteristics, China seems exceptionally "complicated." It is indeed a challenge to overcome various obstacles and see the skeleton of this nation underneath.

Those who come to China during the Olympics will see China with their own eyes. "Westerners have various opinions and different standpoints with regard to the question of China. This opportunity will allow them to form more realistic views, including perspectives on the development of China," predicts Eberhard Sandschneider, a German China specialist. In spite of the difference in opinion, people believe that the Olympic Games will help the world understand China better.

Interestingly, a survey shows that with regard to the Beijing Olympics, 65% of Chinese people care about "how Chinese people appear to the world and how the world looks at China." The Chinese people have joined the world and have learned to look at themselves from an outsider's perspective. They know this world event does not center on the self-evaluation of the Chinese people. The value of the Games needs to be acknowledged by the world; and the world's acknowledgement would define its position in the Olympic history is defined by such acknowledgement.

Perhaps former US athlete Susan Brownell said it best: "the Olympic Games is compensation for China's sufferings in the past hundreds of years." Still China does not have such historical pathos that it requires comfort from the Olympic Games. The purpose of the Games is to fulfill a dream. As a latecomer to modernization with 1.3 billion people, China hopes that with all its passion and dedication, it can take up the responsibility so the world understands that China is not only an economic giant standing up, but also an important global participant.

Friends from all over the world are coming to China at this time. In addition to enjoying the exciting moments of this civilization with a long history, they will also feel and experience China. They will be eyewitness to a giant resolutely moving forward, with 5,000 years of tradition on his back.

By People's Daily Online

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