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Closing ceremony marks start of China's new height
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17:09, August 26, 2008

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The Beijing Olympics closing ceremony held on Sunday not only lavished tribute on an ancient nation's pride and charm, but turned out the extravaganza of a global carnival, which has further expressed China's determination to be integrated into the international community and fulfill its aspiration of ‘One World, One Dream.'

During the last 17 days, the entire world has been bathed in great ferment and jubilation. The athletes' wonderful performance at the Games, as well as episodes of their painstaking struggles in life, has deeply moved audiences all over the world as the distillation of the Olympic spirits---faster, higher and stronger. The commonly shared virtues embodied in fair competition has smashed all human prejudices. For that short period, people across the world gathered together and competed on the same arena regardless of race, gender and religion. Even the players who have just struggled out of their war-torn countries seemed to have temporarily forgotten painful memories when savoring happy Olympic moments.

The Olympics is over, but its spirit will persist. For China, hosting the Olympic Games is all the more important in its ongoing reforms and opening up. As a matter of fact, the Games have tested China in many respects: the interaction between the Government and public, China's mass intelligence and public values, and information transparency and openness. It has proven to be an unprecedented success that all the Olympics-related policies have been carried out to the letter. This partially reflects that China has basically built up sound communication between the government and the general public in which the policies made on the basis of public opinion will be fully respected and supported by the public.

For instance, the Odd-Even Car Restriction, launched in July through to the end of the Paralympics in September - by which cars are banned on alternate days depending on whether their number plates end in odd or even numbers - has already gained popular support among Beijing citizens, as the restriction has greatly eased the otherwise congested traffic and effectively cleaned the air in downtown areas. Many netizens posted their opinions online suggesting the restriction continue even after the Games. The Beijing municipal government decided to hold hearings to collect public opinion before deciding whether to put the restriction into law in the future.

It is evident that if the policy-making process is open and accumulates mass intelligence and public opinions, the policies will be regarded as democratic fruits and will be supported wholeheartedly by the general public. China's government and policymakers have been endeavoring to build up a platform on which related authorities and ordinary citizens can enjoy a heart-to-heart dialogue; and people from all walks of life can contribute their ideas to the policy-making process. The Olympic Games has further opened channels of communication between the top level and the grassroots. This is social progress achieved in hosting the Games by collecting mass intelligence and public opinions and will be cherished by the Chinese people in the days to come.

According to the Pareto Improvement Effect, from innovation more people can accumulate wealth, alleviate conflicts among different groups and create the Pareto-efficient allocation in the public interest. Therefore any efficient policy must be based on the maximum public interest.

Facing the global economic slow down and continuous prices hike in recent years, China's economy also has had great difficulty in keeping its robust growth for almost three decades. Many people cannot help but worry the so-called ‘post-Olympics effects' could adversely influence China's economic development. To combat the potential negative effects induced by the globally sluggish economy, China has moved into a new round of economic reforms which stages more policies to benefit the general public, further restricts administrative authority and market monopoly, and launches reconstruction projects in earthquake-hit areas.

‘Nothing is more valuable in the universe than human beings,' as was addressed by President Hu Jintao in his speech at Yale University. The closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games will not act as the watershed for China's economy and social progress; but marks a starting point for China and the Chinese people to scale to a new height.

By People's Daily Online

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