--- SEARCH ---
Chinese Women
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar
Telephone and
Postal Codes

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
China Knowledge

Mascots Renamed 'Fuwa'

The English name of the Beijing Olympic mascots has been changed to Fuwa as it is literally pronounced in Chinese and thus true to its Chineseness.

The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) confirmed this week that they have decided to adopt the name "Fuwa", which is a literal, pinyin translation of its Chinese name and is more frequently used in China. All Olympic souvenirs and Olympic posters with the original mascot name "The Friendlies" will be replaced.

An official in charge of media and communications from BOCOG said the reason to change the English name to the pinyin form is that "Fuwa" is more accessible and easy to remember, so it will be a better name to promote the five mascots.

The mascots of the Beijing Olympic Games consist of five cartoon figures - a fish, a panda, a Tibetan antelope, a swallow and the Olympic flame - encompassing five features of nature - the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky. Each has a two-syllable name in English, and a combination of the first syllable from each name reads "Beijing Huan Ying Ni" in Chinese, which means "Beijing welcomes you."

Announced by BOCOG last November, the English name "Friendlies" has aroused debates on the Internet. Some people say the English name may be misleading as "Friendly" has two meanings in English, a friendly person or a game played for pleasure or practice. The fact that "Friendlies" sounds like "friendless" is another flaw, said some netizens.

It's believed that the name change will help with the promotion of the Beijing Olympic mascots across the world.

According to the BOCOG plan, it will start the international programme for the sale of the licensed products late this year.

A global tour of the mascots was kicked off in August and was planned to reach all the continents in the next two years.

The mascots made their first stop in the United States last month, debuting in a show accompanied by Chinese folk dances at a National Football League (NFL) game between the Patriots and Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium, Boston at 9:45 pm local time on September 24.

It was the first time that the mascots of another sport event appeared on an NFL playfield.

"The appearance of Fuwa in front of over 60,000 American football spectators was an influential and effective activity," said Shao Shiwei, vice director of BOCOG Media and Communications Department.

"The Olympic Games does not belong to China alone, but rather to the whole world. People in the world are showing interest in Beijing's Olympic preparations. As the host, we are doing our best to bring to them the main concepts and elements of the Games."

The referee of the match also used a Beijing Olympic commemorative coin to start the NFL game and NBC, which televised live the Fuwa NFL act, devoted a total of 90 seconds to the performance instead of using the time for advertisement.

"The best part of the Olympics is that it is inclusive. It's totally inviting. I think these five mascots' message is the same - to come to Beijing and participate with us. So, I think they're great and I like them very much," said Chad Lewis, an NFL player in the US and also one of the promoters of the mascots. "I think it's a perfect relationship when China and the most popular sport in America work together.

During its four-day stay in the US, the Fuwa team also took time to perform at the Children's Hospital in Boston, illustrating the concept of a "People's Olympics." They are getting known by the US people.

"I am excited for the Fuwa to make their way around the United States on their publicity tour. I think they are a great way to get people, especially kids, interested and excited for the games to be held in Beijing," Lewis told China Daily.

"People are already talking about the Beijing Olympics and I know that many are excited for the chance to visit China. Most people hear so much about China, but it is still not a big tourist destination. I think the Olympics will change that.

"I think that as we get closer to the Beijing games, the Fuwa will become more and more popular here in America and around the world. I am already so excited to be a part of the Olympics in Beijing."

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2006)

Goodbye 'Friendlies', Welcome 'Fuwa'
Friendlies to Make New Friends Round the World
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000