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Historical merging of a great nation and a great movement
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09:36, August 09, 2008

It is August 8, 2008 today, a day for the Chinese nation to realize its century-long aspiration and people around the world to get together joyously at the same arena. So the year 2008 poses a hallmark for China, for the world and for the Olympic movement.

The final race of the holy Olympic torch relay, which had covered a journey of more than 100 cities on the five continents with the participation of over 20,000 bearers, began early Friday morning at Zhoukoudian, the site of Peking man where fossils of the Chinese ape-man had been found in the early last century in southwestern Beijing, is scheduled to reach at the Bird's nest Olympic Stadium on the evening. With its ignition of the lofty main torch tower, the Beijing Olympic Games is inaugurated.

This constitutes the historical merging of a great nation and a great movement. Beijing won the bidding for the 2008 Olympics on July 13, 2001 at the 112th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Moscow. Seven years later, on August 2, 2008. IOC president Jacques Rogge said to about 100 reporters and cameramen at the press center of the Beijing Olympic Games that he had "no regret about awarding the 2008 Games to China (Beijing)."

"The Green Olympics, the High-tech Olympics and the People's Olympics" represent the core concepts of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The Bird's Nest model structure is the largest steel frame structure with a greatest span in the present world, while the "Water Cube" is a new polyhedron space steel structure in 4,000 bubble-like frames in protection of the steel structure from the corrosive humidity of the pool. The Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium (or the Badminton Hall) boasts the world's largest pre-stressed suspended-dome that spans 93 meters. All these projects give expressions to the new scientific feats or achievements for the new century.

The preparation process of the Beijing Games has been the course of integrating the outstanding Chinese culture with the spirit of the Olympic Games. A series of unique images, such as the Olympic Emblem "Chinese Seal and Dancing Beijing", awarding medals, the Mascot Fuwa and the Olympic torch "Xiangyun" (lucky clouds), all epitomize vividly with the silhouette of the Chinese culture.

At 9:17 a.m. on May 8, the holy flame reached atop Mt. Qomolangma or Mount Everest, the torch "Xiangyun" seemed to ascend and illuminate the sky for the first time, and this has performed a great feat in the Olympic torch relay history and gives a fuller display of the "faster, higher and stronger" Olympic spirit and leaves a valuable legacy for the Olympic movement.

The participation or engagement of 1.3 billion Chinese people in the Games is a milestone for the spread of the Olympic spirit. More important, the Beijing Olympics also offers the most extensive education for 400 million Chinese children and youths in history.

Meanwhile, IOC president Jacques Rogge deem the concept, practice, purpose and outcome of the Beijing Games will leave a valuable legacy in the history of the development of the Olympic movement. The Olympic Games has recorded the process of human civilization from a side aspect in the last 100-plus years. And it is expected to open a new, brilliant page when they joined hands with China in Beijing this year.

The operation or performance of the Chinese capital has brought a brand-new shape to the city on the eve of the Games. Beijing has set aside special lanes for vehicles serving the Olympic Games with a total length of 285.7 km (or 178 miles), which was put to use on July 20; its power grid with a capacity of 50.12 million KVA is fully capable of dealing with the estimated maximal electricity consumption of 14.6 million KW in the summer time. In addition, during the games, more than 3,000 registered health professionals will deliver medical services with 37 medical teams, apart from 24 designated hospitals to provide all-round medical services. At the same time, the daily life of 17 million residents in Beijing has been proceeding as usual, orderly and without any slight interruptions.

The choice of China by the Olympics in 2001 has provided Beijing and other associated cities with an opportunity for a high-speed development. Taking the advantage of the opportunity provided by the Games, Beijing established a strategic concept of "New Beijing, new Olympics" to present new and successful Games and build a new Beijing, which has scored an overall economic growth with a marked increase in this regard in the course of preparations over the past seven years. In line with comparable price, its total economic value in 2007 was about double the figure for 2001 with an annual growth of 12.4 percent and is expected to top one trillion Renminbi (RMB yuan). And the per-capita GDP rose from 3,262 US dollars in 2001 to 7,654 dollars last year and would likely to surpass 8,000 dollars in 2008.

Preparations for the Games have quickened the process of urban development in Beijing, spurred the upgrading of its environmental quality and further improved its service networks. Taking the holding of the Games as a pivot, Beijing has explored a new trail of development with Chinese characteristics and alive with hallmarks of the present era and the city's particular salient features, thanks to the resolute efforts to implement the scientific outlook on development.

"Green Olympics" has promoted a sustained development. The Capital Iron and Steel Complex, or Shougang, in the western part of the capital has been displaced to the neighboring Hebei province, and a 47-year-old coking plant east of Beijing, which provided more than 80 percent of gas or heat for industrial and coking use has suspended production. Coupled with energy conservations and pollution emission reduction, Beijing is heading for an eco-friendly metropolis with green hills, limpid water and blue sky overhead.

New Beijing needs new engines and it is to be equipped with new sports arenas, new intelligence-control urban traffic and clean energy sources. Hence, the Olympic Games has not posed a new showcase but a turning point for its new innovations. The preparations and holding of Olympic Games have spurred its tempo for scientific attainment and the development of the other related cities, and their prospects will be even brighter and broader.

Beijing-Tianjin Inter-city Rail became formally operational on August 1. It is China's first self-developed express rail route, and the whole drive only requires 30 minutes. However, it took the Olympic Dream that had commenced in the port city of Tianjin a full century to "get to" Beijing.

In 1908, the "Tianjin Youth News" for the first time in Chinese history queried: When will China send an athlete to compete in the Olympic games? When will China sent a team to participate in the Games? And When China will host its own Olympics? The "dream" or aspiration curtailed in the three questions was so remote and vague and people sighed deeply over them when the nation was then nicknamed as "a sick man in east Asia".

New China was founded on October 1st, 1949; it opened itself to the outside world in 1978 and, a year later, its legal status was reinstated in the IOC. On July 29, 1984, Chinese athlete Xu Haifeng won the first Olympic gold medal in the 50m pistol at the 23rd Olympics at Los Angeles Games.

With a century-long aspiration, two bidding attempts for the Games and the ensuing seven years of all-out preparations, the Olympics is to finally inaugurated Friday evening. So the history proclaims an in-depth, incisive truth that "Only socialism can save China" and that "only the reform and opening-up can develop China." Tremendous achievements scored in the country's reform and opening to the world and modernization development program have laid a solid material basis for making the Games a high level event with distinct characteristics.

When the people across China plunged themselves in preparations for the Games, nevertheless, a devastating earthquake of 8.0-magnitude on the Richter scale jolted Sichuan and other adjacent areas in western China. At the inspiration of the quake rescue and relief efforts, Chinese people pressed ahead with various preparatory work for the Games.

Noting that it is significant for the Olympic Games to come to China, which accounts for one fifth of the world's population, IOC president Rogge said "the Games will also leave a great legacy for China", which has finally turned the Games as a theatrical stage to realize "One World, One Dream".

To date, athletes from 205 members of the "great Olympics" family have come to compete in the Beijing arena, and the 2008 Beijing Games is bound to be a great Games session with the most extensive and profound involvement in the history of Olympics.

In October 2008, the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly passed the Olympic Truce resolution for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, which was proposed by China and subsequently signed by 186 UN member nations. Several days ago, on August 1st, the Olympic Truce wall was launched in Beijing in the Olympic village. IOC president Rogge first signed in Chinese on the wall, named the Wall for Peace and Friendship. And the wall with written words "One World, One Dream in both Chinese and English was formally set up.

Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games need a total of 100,000 Games-time volunteers. The number of those have applied to be helping hands, however, has exceeded 1.12 million, hitting an all-time high and also involving 22,000 foreigners. Furthermore, all work relating to the Games has drawn wholehearted, meticulous guidance from the IOC during more than 2,500 nights and days of intense preparations for the Games… All this has enable people once again to fully witness and experience the charisma of the Olympics with fascinate, profound feelings that Beijing Games belongs not only to China and but to the world as a whole.

By People's Daily Online, and its reporters are Yan Xiaoming, Wang Jianxin and Lai Renqiong

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