Special activities were held across Beijing earlier this week to
mark the two-year countdown to the opening of Beijing 2008 Olympic
Among the onlookers was a group of British tourists, who enjoyed
colorful traditional sports activities at the Chinese Ethnic
Roy Bawden, who was among the group, said that he thought the
Chinese capital would have a great Olympics in 2008.
He added it was great that so many members of the public were
involved in the build-up.
The office clerk has previously been to the Sydney and Athens
About 160 staff from minority ethnic groups who work at the park
took part in the event, which showcased the traditional sports of
China's 56 ethnic groups as a special way to welcome the upcoming
After watching wrestling shows performed by six Mongolians,
another British visitor, Geoff Pearson, said the traditional sports
"I hadn't expected to see so much mass participation in China to
mark the Games," he added.
Fellow tourist Val Hardy said: "We'd like to come to Beijing in
2008 to view the Games."
Peng Yi, a performer from the Tujia ethnic group in Central
China's Hunan Province, who took part in a
performance, said she was becoming more aware of the Olympics.
"Previously, I only had a vague idea of the Beijing Olympics.
Now that I am in a troupe performing dances to promote the
Olympics, I have become quite proud of it," she said.
"I hope Chinese athletes can get records at the Games, and I'll
do my best to help spread the Olympic spirit."
He Liqiong, a performer from the Naxi ethnic group in southwest
China's Yunnan Province, said she would continue
practicing the folk dances even after the 2008 Games.
"The dances will not only show our involvement in mass sports,
but also are helpful to our daily fitness," she said.
Qiqige, a Mongolian girl from north China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, said:"I
hope the Olympics in Beijing will help to promote our awareness of
the importance of dancing and artistic performance. When we
understand them better, we will come to see their value and love
them more and more."
Li Guosheng, director of the Activities Department at the
Chinese Ethnic Culture Park, said he hoped the folk sports displays
at the park would be integrated into the nation's fitness campaign
amidst Beijing's drive to prepare for the 2008 Games.
"I must say people from our 56 ethnic groups are good at singing
and dancing. Their traditional ethnic sports are an important part
of the country's sports activities and carry a precious cultural
heritage. Many of the ethnic sports activities are not only good
for health but also have high artistic value, and rich recreational
and educational functions," he said.
"The hosting of the Olympic Games in 2008 will be an excellent
chance for us to promote the ethnic sports culture.
"So far, we've arranged sets of dances that incorporate many
cultural gems of the 56 ethnic groups.
"When foreigners come to see the Games in 2008, they can also
come and enjoy our ethnic sports and our ethnic culture," he
Located southwest of the Beijing National Olympic Park, the
ethnic culture park covers an area of 50 hectares. It contains two
exhibition halls and a range of displays of the 56 ethnic groups in
There are also model replicas of villages of 48 of the minority
The construction of villages for the remaining eight ethnic
groups will be completed before 2008, said Wang Kun, deputy
director of the park's Information Department.
Cao Junzi, a performer from the Tujia ethnic group at the event,
said that since the founding of New China, the government has
attached great importance to the development of traditional ethnic
sports, which now amount to about 1,000 different kinds.
They include Mongolian wrestling, horsemanship and archery;
kicking the shuttlecock and tug-of-war of the Hui minority; Tibetan
yak racing; the Miao people's dragon-boat racing; Manchu skating
and the stilt-walking of the Dong people, he said.
(China Daily August 11, 2006)