Over 15,000 Chinese gathered in lower Manhattan, New York City on May 4 to voice their support for this summer's Beijing Olympics and to promote peace and unity in the Olympic spirit.
The rally, which had the theme "For Peace and The Olympics," was organized on the Internet by a group of young Chinese students and professionals living in and around New York.
"As Chinese living in the USA, we need to make our voices heard," Howard Hou told the reporters. Hou, who works in New York City, was one of the 10 organizers of the event. He said the rally had the overwhelming support of Chinese living in the United States, including Tibetans, who brought pictures and banners explaining basic facts about Tibet and had organized a petition in support of the Olympics.
Waving the Chinese and U.S. national flags and holding up banners supporting the Beijing Olympics, demonstrators sang China's national anthem and chanted "Go Beijing, Go Olympics!"
According to Hu Jie, one of the event coordinators, two planes had been rented to circle overhead, trailing banners supporting the Beijing Olympics and condemning CNN commentator Jack Cafferty's insulting remarks about the Chinese people.
Among the enthusiastic crowd were some Westerners wearing white T-shirts printed "Beijing 2008." Joachim was one of them. He moved from Germany to New York 10 years ago. "You've got to turn out for the Olympics and show the good side of China and of the Olympics," Joachim said, adding, "it [the rally] is so good and absolutely necessary." Joachim has been to China many times. He said many Westerners had a totally wrong idea about China and Tibet because "they don't understand the whole picture." He suggested that Westerners talk to more Chinese people and try to understand China from different perspectives.
Raffaele Abbate, an Italian working in New York, brought a home-made banner inscribed with the words: "China United not De-vided." "I came here because someone needs to represent those of us in the West who have a different point of view," Abbate said. "A lot of Westerners are misinformed about China." But he added that China needs to improve its public relations to explain what's really going on in China.
The rally was held on the 89th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, an anti-imperialist cultural and political campaign that was a landmark in the development of Chinese national feeling and ideological emancipation.
(China.org.cn by correspondents Wang Yanjuan and Chen Wen in New York, all the photos by Chen Wen, May 5, 2008)