Olympic convoy to cross continents
A three-month automobile caravan spanning 30,000 kilometres and 100 cities in 23 countries will take off from Beijing this summer to spread the Olympic spirit and Chinese goodwill.
"The 2004 Crossing over Euro-Asia Tour is the first of its kind for Chinese people to traverse the two continents by automobile," Li Jie, vice-president of the organizing committee, said at a news conference in Beijing Thursday, touting the colossal journey which begins in late July.
Sponsored by China Association for Scientific Expeditions, "the First Crossing of Exploration of Olympic Envoy" aims not only to understand more about human beings and nature, but to spread the friendship, culture and peaceful spirit of the Chinese nation, Li said.
"It will be a good chance to show a New China in front of the whole world, on the occasion of the coming 55th birthday of the People's Republic of China and the Beijing 2008 Olympics," said Li.
The journey will provide an opportunity to spread the new Beijing Olympic Spirit as a "green, high-tech and people-friendly Olympic Games."
About 40 people have been chosen to make the journey. They include scientists, environmentalists, explorers, professional auto racers, Beijing citizens and Chinese women of achievement.
Liu Bin, one of the racers, said, "the campaign is different from competitive races held in China, because it will be such a meaningful cultural-exchange. It is also a new and fresh experience for me."
After the expedition starts this summer, the first foreign stop is Mongolia, then Russia. The motorcade will visit six cities that have been past Olympic hosts -- Moscow, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Athens.
Grand ceremonies will be held at each and campaign members will present Chinese gifts to local governments at each stop.
The journey will also cross 30 Chinese sister cities across Asia and Europe, with the travellers holding a series of events, such as parade in the Red Square in Moscow, crossing through Berlin Wall, an arch-parade at the Louvre and a carnival in Barcelona.
China Association for Scientific Expeditions has sponsored many successful campaigns since it was established, such as the Meili Jokul exploration, hot air balloons flying over Mount Qomolangma, hiking trips through the Brahmaputra canyon, and building the first temporary investigation station in the North Pole.