Saturday, August 09, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympics: Opening Ceremony

Within a few hours of the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, some foreign papers already have it wrong. In's article, Beijing Olympics: Chinese told to watch opening ceremony at home, the author, Peter Foster charges that ordinary citizens were not able to watch the event publicly.

I dont know what your talking about, Peter because I just came back from Ditan Park (地坛公园) after 4 hours of watching the opening ceremonies on 2 big broadcast screens. The park was filled with (what I estimated as) between 3000-5000 people watching the broadcast. Not only were there foreigners from all over the world - who cheered for their own countries, but most of the viewers were local Chinese, young and old. Everyone cheered for China. An old lady sitting next to me was interviewed by an Aussie news station and adamantly mentioned how proud she was.

Not only is this article incredibly ignorant, but it shows a lack of journalistic ability. There were tons and tons of media from all over the world at Ditan park taking pictures, filming, conducting interviews, ect. Why were you not there?

I know the LA Times was there.
They might not have tickets to the Games. They might never set foot in a stadium. But wherever there was a TV screen, big or small, the people of Beijing on Friday gathered and cheered, soaking up this brief moment in the long history of this ancient capital when the Olympic flame illuminated the Chinese sky.

Despite suffocating heat and the threat of a summer shower, locals poured into designated parks and viewing areas, grandparents and babies in tow, some waiting hours for a foothold among the standing-room-only crowds of thousands that roared past midnight.

"I am so proud to be Chinese tonight," said Ju Ke, a 19-year-old animation student who got a front-row seat on the grass of Ditan Park before two giant monitors.

"This is such a huge deal for Chinese people," said Li Shengli, 78, a white-haired grandfather and retired electrician who had passed out eight times in the heat since showing up at the park after lunch to get a spot where he could sit. "I don't know if I can live long enough to see the next Olympics. So I had to be here, to participate, to show I care."

"Look at the spirit of these people. Isn't it exciting!" said Liu Jianhua, 57, a neighbor of Li, as young people around him with red flags painted on their cheeks chanted in unison, "Go, China, go!"

Here are some of my pictures from the event.

This was a great event - once in a lifetime. Peter, please cover this event fair, or just Go Home already.

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