Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,Good afternoon! Before I introduce our cultural programs, I want to tell you one thing first about 2008. You're going to have a great time in Beijing.
China has its own sport legends. Back to Song Dynasty, about the 11th century, people started to play a game called Cuju, which is regarded as the origin of ancient football. The game was very popular and women were also participating. Now, you will understand why our women football team is so good today.
There are a lot more wonderful and exciting things waiting for you in New Beijing, a dynamic modern metropolis with 3,000 years of cultural treasures woven into the urban tapestry. Along with the iconic imagery of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall, the city offers an endless mixture of theatres, museums, discos, all kinds of restaurants and shopping malls that will amaze and delight you. But beyond that, it is a place of millions of friendly people who love to meet people from around the world. People of Beijing believe that the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will help to enhance the harmony between our culture and the diverse cultures of the world. Their gratitude will pour out in open expressions of affection for you and the great Movement that you guide.
Within our cultural programs, education and communication will receive the highest priority. We seek to create an intellectual and sporting legacy by broadening the understanding of the Olympic Ideals throughout the country. Cultural events will unfold each year, from 2005 to 2008. We will stage multi-disciplined cultural programs, such as concerts, exhibitions, art competitions and camps which will involve young people from around the world. During the Olympics, they will be staged in the Olympic Village and the city for the benefit of the athletes.
Our Ceremonies will give China's greatest-and the world's greatest artists a stage for celebrating the common aspirations of humanity and the unique heritage of our culture and the Olympic Movement. With a concept inspired by the famed Silk Road, our Torch Relay will break new ground, traveling from Olympia through some of the oldest civilizations known to man-Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, Mesopotamian, Persian, Arabian, Indian and Chinese. Carrying the message "Share the Peace, Share the Olympics," the eternal flame will reach new heights as it crosses the Himalayas over the world's highest summit - Mount Qomolangma, which is known to many of you as Mt. Everest. In China, the flame will pass through Tibet, cross the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, travel the Great Wall and visit Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the 56 ethnic communities who make up our society. On its journey, the flame will be seen by and inspire more human beings than any previous relay.
I am afraid I can not present the whole picture of our cultural programs within such a short period of time. Before I end, let me share with you one story. Seven hundred years ago, amazed by his incredible deions of a far away land of great beauty, people asked Marco Polo whether his stories about China were true. He answered: What I have told you was not even half of what I saw. Actually, what we have shown you here today is only a fraction of Beijing that awaits you. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that Beijing will prove to be a land of wonders to athletes, spectators and the worldwide television audience alike. Come and join us. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you all.