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Beijing 2008 First Olympic Cultural Festival Kicked off

      A grand opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 First Olympic Cultural Festival was held at the colorfully decorated China Millennium Monument at 10 am, September 21.

      Leaders attended the opening ceremony include Mr. Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olmpyiad (BOCOG), member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC and Party Secretary of the Beijing municipal government; Mr. Yuanweimin, president of the State Physical Culture Administration and the Chinese Olympic Committee, executive president of BOCOG; Mr. Wang Qishan, acting major of Beijing and executive president of BOCOG; Mr. Zhao Weisui, vice minister of culture; and Mr. Hu Zhanfan, deputy director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The opening ceremony was chaired by Wang Qishan.

      In his speech, Mr. Liu Qi said: “on the eve of the 54th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Beijing 2008 First Olympic Cultural Festival opens today. This is another important event in preparation for hosting the best Olympic Games and promotion of ‘Olympic Culture.’ I, on behalf of the Beijing municipal government and BOCOG, thank our colleagues from the central government and the State Council who joined us in the preparations for the festival. And I also convey my warm greeting to the specialists, scholars, artists and those from all circles who are directly involved in the festival.”

      Mr. Liu Qi pointed out that the modern Olympics is a global social and cultural event which, using sports as the medium, makes enhancing friendship and world peace its goal. From the day it was founded, cultural activities have been an important part of the Olympic Games. Sports have close ties with culture and the Olympic Games open new vistas for cultural understanding. Precisely because of this integration of culture, the Olympics is one of the most celebrated events of mankind.

      This Olympic Cultural Festival explores new areas for us to carry forward the “Three Represents,” promote cultural development, and construct a socialist, spiritual civilization, Mr. Liu Qi said. The Olympic tenet of “Faster, Higher and Stronger” not only inspires athletes but also reflects the concept of advanced cultures. To integrate the development of culture and the socialistic spiritual civilization, enhancing the Olympic spirit will promote a new cultural ethos in the entire society and add new vigor for the development of the culture.

      Mr. Liu Qi also pointed out that a “Green” Olympics, Hi-Tech Olympics and Cultural Olympics were the three major concepts for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; Olympic culture has a profound impact in all three of these. The Olympic Cultural Festival puts these three concepts into effect, especially the concept of the culture of the Olympics. We hope to further enhance Chinese culture and promote understanding, trust, and friendship among the people in the world. We will make the Olympic Cultural Festival a promoter of the concept of the culture of the Olympics.

      Liu Qi, Yuan Weimin, Wang Qishan, Zhao Weisui and Hu Zhanfan cut the ribbon for the First 2008 Olympics Cultural Festival during the opening ceremony. Afterwards, they viewed the children’s large-scale art creation--"Children’s Drawings for the Olympics Games" and visited the "Dancing Beijing”--Olympic emblem exhibition.

      The theme of the cultural festival is "Charming Beijing, Olympic Culture". In the following 10 days, the festival will hold exhibitions of Beijing’s Olympic Games emblem designs and a collection of the emblems of previous Olympic Games. Well-known domestic and foreign scholars and experts will be invited to this cultural festival to give interesting talks about the Olympic Games’ emblem, Olympic torch customs, Chinese jade culture, Olympic spirit, the Olympic education, and a digital film of the Olympic Games. The Cultural Festival will encourage people in different fields to participate in cultural activities such as the performance of Taiji, open-air cultural square activities, English Speech and singing contests and other cultural and sports activities. The wonderful closing ceremony will be held in Century Hall at Peking University.

      Other leaders attended the ceremony include: Mr. Long Xinmin, deputy Party secretary of Beijing municipal government;Mr. Lin Wenyi, deputy director of Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Beijing municipal government; Mr. Liu Jingmin, Beijing deputy mayor and executive vice-president of BOCOG; and BOCOG’s vice-presidents: Duan Shijie, Jiang Xiaoyu, Li Binghua, Wang Wei and so on.

      It is reported that the State Council has authorized the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, the State Physical Culture Administration, Beijing government and the BOCOG to jointly hold the 2008 Olympic Cultural Festival each year until 2008.

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