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Article by Ambassador Zhang Junsai on Beijing Torch Relay
2008/04/21

As soon as my role to accompany with the Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd's recent trip to China has finished, I did not have a chance to visit "The Water Cube", Olympic Swimming Pool designed by Australian Architect. Instead, I immediately rushed back to Canberra, because the eminent Olympic flame is on its way to the Australian Continent.

Autumn in Canberra is the most colorful season of the year. Having been away for just a week, I was very excited to discover that the colorful Olympic Torch relay banner promoting "the Journey of Harmony" ideals are raised and flying high all around the streets of Canberra. These colorful flags and decorations have blended into the beautiful April landscape of Canberra.

Canberra is a sister city to Beijing. Many Australian friends ask me, "Why is Canberra chosen to be a route of one of the many cities visited by the Beijing Olympic Torch relay?" My response is , "the former Mayor of Beijing, Mr Wang Qishan has said to me that as the Olympic Games host city, it is our desire to share these honor and excitement with the sister city to Beijing".

Australia is regarded to be important partner with China. The visit of Olympic flame will re-ignite and enhance the friendship between these two capital cities, reaffirm the two nations' relationship, working together to complete the smooth Journey of Harmony Olympic Torch relay, passing through the only city chosen for the Oceania route.

The Beijing Olympic Games slogan carries the message "One World, One Dream". To the 1.3 billion Chinese, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is a dream that has finally come true. It is an historical moment where the nations will share. In Beijing, in China, many workers, volunteers, organizers, and athletes have put hours of hard work and sweats in preparation for this event. In August this year, these people will greet with their best smile to welcome all friends across the five continents.

However, the recent incidents in London, Paris and other on route cities, the Olympic Torch has endured repeated violent attacks as it struggled through the route.

A young Paralympics athlete of Chinese decent in a wheelchair, holding the torch with both arms close to her chest to protect the flame as violent "protesters" tried repeatedly to grab it from her has infuriated me. The Olympic Games supporters should feel concern with the behaviors displayed by some minority groups who are determined to dampen the Spirit of Olympic Games. Many people are questioning exactly and especially what do they mean? Should such disturbing behavior be seen as unacceptable and should the public and media condemn these violent attacks? I sincerely hope that such unhappy incident will not be repeated when the Torch visits Canberra.

The passion of Olympic flame is not for Beijing city alone, it belongs to the whole world. On 24th of April, the Olympic flame will be ignited in Canberra; it will light up the hearts of many people who are eager to be part of the journey. Australia counterpart has organized many special events, including performance of Canberra's 500 finest voices in an uplifting community choir and talented China's "Yellow Earth Plateau Cultural Dance Troupe".

"light the passion, share the dream", eighty torch relay bearers including a 92-year-old senior, Olympians, well known Australians and eminent community representatives will participate in the relay route. Just imagine, people residing in Canberra and around Australia, including many Chinese people and Overseas Chinese students, would be gathering here in Canberra to welcome the Olympic Flame and send their best wishes to the Olympic Games. Australia supports the ideals of Olympics. Australians are warm and generous people. I hope, on the day, the loudest voice we hear is the sound of the cheering voice to welcome the Olympic flame.

Mr. Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, on his visit to Beijing has stated that Australia wishes the Beijing Olympic Games a great success. The Editorials of major Australian newspapers endorsed that Australia should not boycott the Beijing Olympic Games. Many Olympic Torch bearers have expressed how honored and proud to be given the opportunity to carry the torch.

I hope, to the whole world, the Olympic Torch relay will successfully showcase all Canberra's attractions, the wonderful spirit of the Australia people, the peace and friendship that the people of Australia and China always share.

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