Note: an update is inserted at the end.
The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was, by most accounts, a brilliantly choreographed and spectacularly executed performance worth of a gold medal of its own. There were a fair number of notable highlights, and many journalists certainly were not shy from exhausting all the synonyms of the word “stunning” in the thesaurus in describing those scenes.
High on many Chinese viewers’ list of the most moving moments, however, is one that might not be easily appreciated by foreign audiences. Early in the process, China’s national flag was brought into the Bird’s Nest and raised while an young girl in a red dress stood singing “Hymn to the Motherland”. This song is perhaps best explained as the equivalent of “God Bless America” and is similarly considered an unofficial national anthem by many. The simple lyric line
歌唱我们亲爱的祖国，从今走向繁荣富强。 “We sing to our beloved motherland, on her way towards prosperity and strength.”
captures the hope and pride of so many Chinese for so long in merely 17 characters.
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