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Beijing Aims at Lively, Cultural 2008 Olympics

China's ancient and colourful culture will surely enrich Olympic culture if Beijing hosts the 2008 Summer Games, said officials from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee, which hails humanism as one of its themes.

Displaying Chinese culture is a key element in the committee's plan for hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, especially in events such as the torch relay, the opening ceremony and the closing ceremony, officials with the committee said.

They believe that the Olympic ceremonies symbolize the characteristics of Olympic culture.

If Beijing hosts the 2008 Games, well-planned ceremonies will capture the interest of people all over the world.

The theme of the torch relay will be peace.

The torch relay will be inspired by the famous ancient Silk Road, which was a significant international channel for goods and cultural exchanges between the East and West 2,000 years ago.

Through the same channel, the Olympic flame will again light the world in 2008 if Beijing hosts the Games.

It will make this relay the longest in distance in Olympic history. Stretching across the most extensive area, the torch relay is expected to involve more people than ever. It will cover a number of the world's oldest civilizations such as Greece, Egypt, India and China.

The torch, which is lit at the Hera Temple in Olympia, will journey from Greece, travel through Egypt and India, until it finally reaches China.

It is expected that the torch relay will come over Mount Qomolangma, the highest peak in the world, with mountaineers climbing the southern slope and passing the torch to a Chinese mountaineer coming down the northern slope. It will symbolize how Olympic spirit can overcome all hurdles and reach all people.

After that, the torch will travel along the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Great Wall.

Representatives from the host cities of previous Games and the 10 bidding cities for the 2008 Games, together with representatives from the 56 Chinese ethnic groups, will take part in the relay.

To be held in a planned 80,000-seat stadium in the Olympic Green, the opening ceremony will display China's long history and culture, making it a truly memorable event, officials said.

The city is also working on a plan to reduce the time athletes spend waiting to enter the stadium. All the athletes will have their own seats in the stadium so that they too can enjoy the show.

The closing ceremony will focus on the harmony of world cultures. The world's best artists will be invited.

Fireworks, which were invented by the Chinese, will decorate the night sky.

With a 3,000-year long history, Beijing promises to provide a truly remarkable spectacle if it hosts the 2008 Olympic Games, said Beijing Mayor Liu Qi in a recent interview.

(People's Daily 07/10/2001)

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