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Beijing Games declared open by China's president
August 08, 2008 21:58 IST
The Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images] were officially declared open on Friday at a glittering ceremony in the showcase Bird's Nest stadium at which China celebrated its ancient past and modern power.
Chinese President Hu Jintao's announcement was made before an estimated global television audience of one billion and a capacity crowd in the stadium that included more than 80 world leaders and royals.
Olympics head Jacques Rogge congratulated China for a "dream come true" by hosting the Games and urged athletes to shun doping.
"For a long time, China has dreamed of opening its doors and inviting the world's athletes to Beijing for the Olympic Games," Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in a speech at the Games' opening.
"Tonight that dream comes true. Congratulations, Beijing!"
Earlier, resurgent China opened the Olympics with volleys of fireworks at a spectacular ceremony that wove ancient Chinese history with modern wizardry and aimed to draw a line under months of political controversy.
Drums thundered, firecrackers exploded and 14,000 performers poured through the National stadium in a dazzling extravaganza that offered up a vision of global harmony echoing the Games' motto "One World One Dream".
Around 80 world leaders watched the show which celebrated the achievements of imperial China, totally ignoring the fraught 20th century, when civil war, the Japanese invasion and hardline Communist rule left the nation mired in poverty.
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