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Five Friendlies Warm Up for World Tour
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The Five Friendlies, the faces of the Beijing Olympics, are to tour the world spreading friendship, peace and blessings.


The Olympic mascots' first stop will be the United States, where the five Chinese cartoon figures, also known as Fuwa, will tour football fields, performing fairy-tale dramas and playing with local fans.


A ceremony launching the global trip was held in Beijing on Monday evening. Over the next two years, the mascots will visit all seven continents, said Wang Hui, vice director of the Communications and Media Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).


Each Fuwa symbolizes a different blessing and will carry their blessings to people around the world.


"Prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck will be spread to every continent as the Fuwa carry an invitation to Beijing 2008 to every part of the globe," said Wang.


An acrobatic and dramatic fairy tale was staged after the ceremony. The drama told the story of how the Fuwa fought five monsters in ancient times, bringing peace to the world.


The five cartoon Fuwa Beibei the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Huanhuan the Flame, Yingying the Tibetan Antelope and Nini the Swallow use wisdom, courage and strength to beat the monsters one by one in the story.


After their victory, Huanhuan becomes the Olympic Flame and all five Fuwa become ambassadors of friendship and peace.


"The cartoon figures are clever, brave and full of love," said 10-year-old Huang Penghao after watching the drama.


"I hope the Five Friendlies can deliver a message for me when they meet foreign children. I want to tell other children that Beijing has many delicious foods and beautiful scenic spots."


(China Daily August 9, 2006)

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