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Spirit of Olympics Provokes Nationwide Support in China

It is a century-old dream for most Chinese people to host the Olympic Games. Now, with the conclusion of Beijing's bid for the 2008 Summer Games so close, the whole nation is expecting this Olympic dream to come true.

Back in 1908, the Tianjin Youth magazine put forward three questions for Chinese people to answer: When will China send its first athlete to the Olympic Games? When will China send its first delegation of athletes to the Olympic Games? And when will China host the Olympic Games?

The first two questions have been answered and the Chinese public is counting on 2008 as the answer to the third and final question, exactly 100 years after it was posed, said Yuan Weimin, director of the State General Administration of Sports, who is also the executive chairman of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee.

"As a veteran sportsman, I have led Chinese sports delegations to four Olympic Games and I hope to see my country host the 2008 Olympic Games," Yuan said. "I believe all Chinese people share this same hope."

He believes that if Beijing - the capital of the world's most populous nation - hosts the 2008 Summer Games, Olympic spirit couldn't be better promoted.

The Beijing municipal government and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee have made great efforts to provide an Olympic stage that would be able to celebrate the harmony of sport and culture.

Beijing's bid has support from people of all walks of life.

In the bid committee's exhibition room, souvenirs are on display. They have been submitted by individuals and communities from all over the country, which include paintings, arts and crafts, flags covered in signatures and letters from home and abroad.

While the whole world waits in anticipation for the final International Olympic Committee vote in Moscow on Friday to decide which city will host the 2008 Olympic Games, public interest in China has already reached an optimistic peak.

Stories about individuals and organizations' support of Beijing's bid are heard every day.

In March this year, 10,000 local cyclists pedalled across the city wielding flags inscribed with the words: "I will do my part for Beijing's bid."

In May, about 200,000 primary and middle school students in the city exhibited a 2,008-metre-long streamer covered with their names at the Great Wall.

On June 26, runners from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan arrived in Qingdao, Shandong Province, to promote Beijing's bid.

Many foreign friends have asked the bid committee why Beijingers are so enthusiastic about the city's bid.

"I think it is because of their confidence in the city's economic development and their unending pursuit of a good and secure future," answered Liu Jingmin, vice-chairman of the bid committee, who is also Beijing's vice-mayor.

In conjunction with the Olympic spirit, summarized as "faster, higher and stronger," we will work even harder and better in our bid, Liu said.

Beijing officials have promised to hold more educational programmes, cultural events and ceremonies to promote awareness of the Olympic spirit.

Starting in the year 2002, an annual high-level international symposium on the Olympic spirit will be held.

From 2005, a 10-day Olympic Summer Camp for international middle school students will be held every year.

And in 2005, an annual international sports journalists symposium will be launched in Beijing.

Targeting 400 million students in China, Olympic education will be carried out in schools throughout the country

(China Daily 07/10/2001)

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