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Deng Yaping Calls for Olympics-driven 'Soft Power' Improvement
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China should seize the opportunity of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to improve the country's soft power by showing a polished national image to the world, a world gold medalist of table tennis said in Beijing on Monday.


Soft power -- a nation's influence in culture, arts, ideology as opposed to economy, technology and military -- is an integral part of a country's comprehensive strength, said Deng Yaping, a veteran woman table tennis player who now is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese people's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body.


"While improving infrastructure in the preparation for the Games, we should also give enough efforts to strengthen our 'soft power' and polish the national image," said Deng at the fourth plenary meeting of the annual session of the CPPCC National Committee.


It is predicted that more than 20,000 registered journalists from all over the world will come to cover the sports event in Beijing, let alone those who may not register with organizers, said Deng, who won four Olympic gold medals.


Considering that the nation will be under such an extensive exposure to world media, the government should take measures to improve the public's ethics, trim their behavior and cultivate their sense of honor and responsibility in order to show the best side of China to the world, said Deng.


Deng also called for the country's media to cool down their enthusiasm for gold medals, urging them to pay more attention to athletes' psychological health while reporting the Games to help create a relaxing atmosphere for players to do their best in 2008.


(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2007)

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