Who says that China wouldn’t alter its course after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games? Any Chinese who has lived through the bitter decade of the cultural revolution in the 1960s and 1970s and the transitional decade after Mao’s death would see how much the modern China is different from what China was like twenty or thirty years ago. Modern China is characterized by its change; it’s an ever-changing, fast-changing country in the world. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games just resulted from such changes, and it will bring more, profound changes in its course.
The Beijing Olympic Games is just the catalyst for fostering even more positive changes that would surprise the world. The first change that the world would see more easily will be possibly in its ecological environment of China – it will become greener. The residents of Beijing had enjoyed the blue skies and the starring nights during the Games that they had not seen very often before. In response to the demands and questions of the residents, the city government officials are currently trying to find ways to continue this trend after the cranes and bulldozers and the concrete blenders resume working in the numerous construction sites soon.
This change will definitely push the government to take more measurers to curb the pollution while maintaining the economic boom. Over 1. 5 million people from China and abroad had volunteered at the Games. However, the spirit of volunteerism, unlike the U. S. , had been uncommon in the past three decades when the paramount leader Deng encouraged part of Chinese to be rich first, which resulted in that every Chinese looks “forward,” or at money in the Mandarin pronunciation.
Young people volunteered because they are confident in their future and the future of the country. The spirit of volunteerism will transform the generation of little emperors and queens into a more responsible generation in China. In the sports competition, the Chinese seem to have become more tolerant of the former Chinese athletes who were representing the teams of other countries, such as the table tennis players currently representing Singapore.
In the women’s volleyball game between the U. S. and China, the Coach Lang Ping of the American women’s volleyball team is the former Chinese championship team player. There was a view among the Chinese viewers during the Games that that Lang is a traitor of China, but the view that the normal sports exchange, including the athletes and coaches exchanges, is good for the world sports competition quickly prevailed in the debate. Through the Games’ seven-year preparations and the torch reply across China, the Olympic spirit has never been deeper in the minds of the average Chinese than ever before.
Even my retired sister told me that she had to do shopping before watching the TV coverage of the Chinese athlete Li Xiang playing in the pre-qualifying race of man’s 110 meter hurdle. She said that she wants to “see how Liu competes for the better and faster and to be inspired by him. ” The only game that my son went to in Beijing is the final of the beach volley ball between the U. S. team and the German team. He told me that the audience had cheered both sides that even other foreign audience had learned how to say Go, USA in Chinese, “Jia-you, USA.
” During the Games, over 30,000 foreign journalists were in China, mostly in Beijing. They were free to get in touch with average Chinese to know how they thought about the Olympics Games, their country, and the their future. The positive attitude of the central government in keeping China open will be irreversible. The fact that foreign journalists had fully covered both the Games and the China’s society has actually helped increased the understanding between people in China and in the rest of the world.
It would be unimaginable that after China had benefited from its openness during the Games the Chinese government would close its door again. The majority of the Chinese still remember today how the NBC Sports Anchor Bob Costas negatively commented on the Chinese athletes when they entered the Stadium in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. Though some Chinese still characterize him as an “anti-China” sports anchor, most of us who have been watching the NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games would so much appreciate the hard, excellent work of the NBC’s reporting team in covering the Games and the Chinese culture.
The NBC team also deserves a gold medal just like the American gold medalists. This also tells that the Chinese not to stop getting in touch with the world. Seeing is believing. Openness fosters mutual understanding between peoples. Through the 29th Olympic Games, China has transformed itself into a more open country, and this transformation will be speeded up in the decades to come. It is true that this Olympic Games is not perfect when we examine every aspect of it.
However, if any of us feels pessimistic about the future of China just based on the minor defects of the Games, that would be what the Chinese saying says, “A leaf before the eyes shouts out the vision. ” Even though the majority of Chinese do not believe there is a serious human rights issue in China today, they might think that the progress that China has made in human rights is the result of the equal dialogues between China and other western countries.
In the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, the famous Confucius’s quotation was casted on to the huge screen of the stadium, “How happy we are to meet friends afar. ” These are also the words in the hearts of the Chinese. Their smile is sincere, and their warmth is felt by the visitors. When their hospitality during the Games has earned, in return, friendship and respect from the world, I believe that few would predict that China would remain as what it had been before the Games. Thank IOC and the world had given China an opportunity to host the Games.
Thank China for hosting the most memorable Games ever to most of us by weathering through the setbacks and criticism before the Games. The world has witnessed everything in the past months. The world will see a better, more open China that evolves in to the family of the human beings in the next London Olympic Games in four years, as well as in the next decades. By Will Zhang President of the Chinese Association of Iowa and Chair of the Iowa Sister States of Hebei (China) Committee. Dr. Zhang currently teaches English and Global Study courses at Des Moines Area Community College