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National Ethnic Games open in Guangzhou
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One big happy family. So much it is when the 8th Chinese Traditional Games of Ethnic Nationalities opened in Guangzhou on Saturday.

Athletes representing China's 55 ethnic groups will gather in the southern Guangdong provincial capital over the next week to compete in 15 ethnic sports including dragon boats race, swinging, Chinese cricket and top flipping, as well as 149 demonstration events.

It is for the first time that the quadrennial games are held outside ethnic autonomous regions.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu declared open the games after over 6,000 athletes, dressed up in picturesque costumes representing their respective ethnic groups, paraded into the Guangdong Olympic Stadium.

Amid a carnival atmosphere, a performance themed "Harmony Forever" unfolded as thousands of ethnic artists took the stage with music and dance. With a vivid backdrop reflecting the unique life of China's ethnic groups, the splendid display translated the field into a sea of jubilation for the country's prosperity and ethnic harmony.

A glamorous fireworks show brought to a close of the spectacular, festive night.

Guangzhou, which will host the world table tennis championships in 2008 and the Asian Games in 2010, has been busily sprucing up to greet the national ethnic games.

More than 8,000 volunteers have been recruited to serve the games, and streets are adorned with streamers and posters.

The National Ethnic Games were inaugurated in 1953 with the participation of athletes from only 13 ethnic groups. After a hiatus of 29 years, the second edition of the games was held in 1982, and since 1991 it was held every four years.

(Xinhua News Agency November 11, 2007)

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