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Paralympics will leave behind abundant legacies
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17:20, September 08, 2008

The opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games held on Saturday night, featuring the value, dignity and dream of life with a dazzling and emotional show, set up a new wave of admiration and praise in the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) and was viewed as a successful relay to the just closed Olympics. The most spectacular opening ceremony ever in the Paralympic history has definitely won the unprecedented world attention, and will sound the clarion call to encourage the Paralympic athletes to march toward a sweeping victory in their competitions.

Like the great success gained by the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Paralympics will also impress the world with its abundant humanitarian as well as sporting legacies.

The Paralympic athletes have not only displayed the sportsmanship and top-notched sporting skills in the competitions, but also brought out the best qualities in humans through the competitions. In addition, like all the other athletes, they have also savored the sacred Olympic moments, but meanwhile, greatly enriched the Olympic spirits of equality and involvement, ever since the Paralympics joined the Olympic family some 50 years ago.

Though the Paralympic Games and the Olympic Games have been taking place in the same year ever since 1960, and using the same venues in the same host city since Seoul 1988, it is the first time that one same organizing committee with exactly the same personnel has taken charge of the preparations for both Games. The Beijing Paralympic Games is testimony to the trust the world has rested on China.

The Chinese government and people have supported the preparatory work of the Beijing Paralympics with immense enthusiasm, and all the relevant departments have spared no efforts to achieve the goal of 'Two Games, Equal Splendor.' With stunning speed and amazing efficiency, the Chinese capital completed a near perfect conversion from the Olympic host to the Paralympic host, changing Games logos, emblems, slogans and mascot patterns in almost every noticeable corner of the capital city.

In the seven-year run-up to the Games, a total of 600 million yuan was invested in the renovation and construction of the tens of thousands of barrier-free facilities, including ramp, blind walkway, voice prompt system and guidance handrail, while parking lots, public transit stations, elevators and public toilets were renovated to improve accessibility for the disabled.

Meanwhile, both the nationwide attention to the disabled and the awareness in offering help to the disabled group have been greatly enhanced in the lead-up to the Paralympics. In 2007, China implemented a batch of rehabilitation projects in a bid to help the disabled people return to the normal life to varying degrees, and about 5.4 million disabled people benefited form these projects. The Chinese governments at different levels have also staged policies favorable to the employment of the disabled, and clearly stated that the system of the proportionate employment of the disabled people must be put in place. In 2007 alone, 392,000 disabled people joined the labor force in the urban areas, and 16.97 million rural disabled people found employment.

The Beijing Paralympics has thus far been fully unfurled delivering its best wishes to the entire world: Flying with the dream; Flying to the heaven of love. A record 4,000-plus athletes from 147 countries and regions will strike up a strong tune of human life in the ongoing competitions, and their performance will assure the world that, as IOC President Jacque Rogge observed in his opening speech, the Paralympic Games would be 'stupendous.'

By People's Daily Online

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