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Mass Entries Vie for 2008 Olympic Mascot

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) said on Monday that its campaign to select an Olympic mascot has entered the evaluation stage.

The BOCOG said on its website that as of December 1, the deadline for submission, it had received 662 valid entries from around the world. Thirty-seven designs came from overseas, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK and the US.

The final selection is expected to be announced in June next year. It must then be approved by the International Olympic Committee and BOCOG will register the copyright.

"Most of the works display the characteristics of Chinese culture and draw on the successful elements of previous Olympic mascots," BOCOG said.

The mascot was first introduced to the Olympic Games at the 1972 Munich Games.

The BOCOG confirmed the giant panda, China's most treasured indigenous species; the Tibetan antelope; and Sun Wukong, the beloved Monkey King of the classic tale, Journey to the West, are among the designs submitted.

However, officials said that intellectual property rights might be an issue for such widely popular images.

(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2004)

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