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Children open first Olympics festival
( 2003-09-22 07:59) (China Daily)

With Olympic posters, huge balloons and swarms of school-aged children, the inaugural Olympic Cultural Festival, an annual showcase of Beijing Olympic Games to the year of 2008, kicked off Sunday with a casual ceremony in the China's capital city.

Liu Qi (C), president of the Beijing's Olympic Organizing Committee looks on as children sign on the Olympic emblem. [newsphoto.com.cn]

The brief event at the Millennium Monument, an outdoor stage in western Beijing, started with the release of five giant balloons into the air. Each held metres-long ribbons in various colours of the Olympic rings.

The balloons floated skyward as more than 2,000 children used paintings and red scarves to form a huge 2008 Olympic emblem, a Chinese character for the name of Beijing drawn to look like a running athlete.

"Culture is one of the important part of the 'People's Olympics,' one of the three themes for the 2008 Beijing Olympics," said Liu Qi, president of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Organizing Committee, who joined the children with city officials in forming the emblem.

"We expect that the festival will help promote Chinese culture and the themes of the 2008 Games," he added.

Beijing is flagging "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics" as the themes of the 2008 Games.

The 10-day festival will last until September 30, featuring exhibitions, symposiums, concerts and public events.

Tens of thousands of people, including foreign scholars, experts and business people, are expected to attend.

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