China invites world to 2008 Games

Updated: 2007-08-08 22:15

A proud China invited the world to the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Wednesday with a dazzling song-and-dance and fireworks display.

The crowds gathered on the vast Tiananmen Square in front of a brightly lit Gate of Heavenly Peace, exactly a year before the Games begin.

"We welcome athletes, coaches, officials, spectators and journalists to participate in, observe and report the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games," parliament chief Wu Bangguo told the crowd.

"The world is watching China and Beijing with great expectation," Rogge said. "Athletes also have great expectations and they are all looking forward to competing in the state-of-the-art Beijing venues.

"Beijing and China will not only host a successful Games for the world's premier athletes, but will also provide an excellent opportunity to discover China, its history, its culture and its people with China opening itself to the world in new ways."

Beijing Communist Party chief and president of the 2008 organisers Liu Qi said Beijing would ensure a safe Games.

"We will ... continually strengthen security measures, improve the city environment and set a solid foundation for a high-level Olympics."

One pensioner, wiping make-up from her face after taking part in a display of traditional folk dancing in a Beijing park, said she was very happy.

"Thirty years ago, we would never have thought that we could host such an event," she said. "China was not strong enough to host the Olympics, but now we are.

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