Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beijing Olympics and Paralympics

The Beijing Olympics ended two weeks ago, but the Games are still the topic among the media and Beijing residents. We still can watch and read collections of the best performances, biographies or stories of Chinese athletes on TV and in the newspaper and magazines. Wherever you go, Beijing residents talk about the Olympics, what they've seen in person or on TV, which games and athletes they like most, and what they think the Bird's Nest and Water Cube should become after the Paralymics.

And the most talked-about is if Beijing should keep the traffic regulations enforced during the Olympics – drivers can drive only on the odd dates if their plates have odd numbers and vice-versa. People debate it on TV and radio, and send their text messages to all media considered. Of course, people without cars, which are the majority, prefer the regulation because it controls the unbearable traffic jams and keeps the air cleaner. People with cars have varying opinions: some are for the regulations, some are not. Some who disagree say they'd buy another car with a different plate number, so they can drive everyday. Then people worry this regulation would help keep many cars away from the streets if lots of people purchase two cars. People from all backgrounds try to voice their concerns and are curious to see if the Beijing government will make the final decision based on what most residents want. This decision will be made right before September 20th, the closing date of the Paralympics and the day the regulation was supposed to end.

The Paralympics started on Saturday, September 6th. Although the media shows everything about the Paralympics, it's business as usual on the streets and for people in Beijing, compared to the opening day of the Beijing Olympics. (That day, all offices were closed, all stores were closed at 3 p.m., and flights were grounded at noon.) When I told my friend I'd like to join her family to watch the opening ceremony, they even didn’t know that the Paralympics would open on Saturday. But when we watched them together, everyone was surprised, excited, and moved by the great performances. We all thought it was as great as the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. When the Paralympic flame was lighted, people were so excited to see the flame burning again.

The next day all the media showed things surrounding the opening ceremony. Director Zhang Yimou discussed his ideas and visions for this ceremony. People talk about it at home and on the streets. When I went to the Bank of China, I saw crowds of people buying the tickets for different games, and all tickets for events at the Bird's Nest and Water Cube were sold out. Now Beijing has another 11 exciting days to celebrate the Paralympic sports and spirit, which will be just as exciting as the 16 days of the Beijing Olympics.

You can learn more about the Paralympics at the official Paralympics site.

Read more about the Opening Ceremony of Paralympics (ChinaSprout will sell the DVD of Opening Ceremony of Paralymic shortly).

And you can watch some games live on or