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Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics draws world attention


    People around the world shared the century-old Olympic dream of 1.3 billion Chinese people and the dazzling opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics Friday night.

    The opening ceremony, inside the new National Stadium in the capital, was witnessed by more than 100,000 people in the stands and by nearly 4 billion worldwide as it was broadcast by CCTV.

    In Brussels, heart of the European Union (EU), overseas Chinese, along with dozens of Belgians, gathered before a big flat screen in a Chinese restaurant, waiting for the start-up of the Games, which was for the first time hosted by the world's most populous country.

    Iraqis Friday felt fascinated with the opening ceremony and greeted their athletes with applause as they paraded into the Bird Nest.

    "Just as I expected, the Chinese did not miss the opportunity to demonstrate the distinct characteristics of ancient Chinese culture," said 55-year-old Adel Rasheed, citing the amazing traditional dancing, calligraphy and Kongfu.

    Millions of Kenyans who were glued to their television sets Friday.

    "This is an exclusive opening ceremony that I have ever seen. First the song by the young girl was marvelous. I admire too the voices of the singers who sang the China national anthem," said Duncan Mboyah, a trader in Nairobi.

    Many British people also spoke highly of the opening ceremony.

    "China has won a gold medal from the opening ceremony of Olympic Games," said John Pordie, a 73-year-old British journalist, who was watching the opening ceremony at the London Trafalgar Square.

    Tens of thousands of people from different countries of the world were gathering at the square to witness the grand opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games through a huge screen. Applause was hovering in the air, together with groups of pigeons.

    "Chinese people are so clever and they can imagine such a wonderful idea. Every single piece is so good," he said.

    For Thais, the Olympic opening ceremony is a chance to have a glimpse at one of the world's oldest civilizations so near and close to their own nation.

    A bigger Thai audience were expected to tune in Friday evening for the event at home, cafes and bars with screens, thanks to the geographical advantage -- only 4,000 kilometers and one- hour time difference between Bangkok and Beijing, which makes it much easier for Thais to follow the event live from TV. The evening traffic in Bangkok did look quieter on a normally chaotic weekend.

    In Toronto, about 5,000 people gathered at the gate of a movie theater early Friday morning, hoping to grab a seat and enjoy the spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on the big screen in high-definition.

    Although the show will not start until 8 a.m. local time, many people, young and old, arrived at the Richmond Hill Center for the Performing Arts well before sunrise.

    As early as one year ago, the theater decided to open for free to an audience who would like to watch the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games together, because many people have shown great enthusiasm.

    According to a survey in London, the Beijing Olympics will have a positive impact on the way the West sees China,

    Results of the survey showed that 66 percent of those polled say there will be an improvement in Western perceptions after the Beijing Olympics.

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