Massive rally in Amsterdam in support of Olympics

May 11th, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by admin  

Amsterdam, May 11 (Xinhua) Thousands of Chinese students and Chinese Dutch people staged a rally on the Dam Square in downtown Amsterdam in support of the Beijing Olympic Games being held in August. Tens of thousands of brochures, leaflets and souvenirs about China and the Beijing Olympics were handed out at the rally Saturday. Several thousands of signatures, from people of Chinese and other ethnic backgrounds, were collected in support of the Beijing Games.

With their faces and arms painted with images of China’s five-star red flag and Beijing Olympics symbols, demonstrators waved Chinese and Dutch national colours and chanted: “Welcome to Beijing, Welcome to China!”

People in their 70s, as well as kids in parents’ arms, joined the three-hour rally that had the theme of “Welcoming the Olympics and focusing on China”.

“I’m Chinese, I feel I should come,” said Zhao, who lives in Amsterdam and is six months pregnant.

Joining her were Chinese Dutch and Chinese students from all parts of the country.

“It is the first time I have seen such a big gathering of the Chinese community in the heart of the capital. The Chinese community is usually very quiet and I think it’s a good thing for them to speak out,” said a Dutch onlooker.

The square, which is in front of the Royal Palace, was overflowing with banners like “The Dutch Are Friends of Chinese”, “Great Games, Zero Politics”, and “One world, One Dream”.

Fu Junwei, a law doctorate candidate at the Tilburg University who helped organise the rally, said Chinese students in the Netherlands felt insulted by some slanted media reports about China and decided to do something.

“We can never sit idly. We feel we should tell the Dutch people the truth and stop the mudslinging. The most important thing is to have discussions with the Dutch and show them the complete picture,” he said.

Some enthusiastic China fans listened to speeches at the rally. Jaap Dil, a Dutch process operator in the pharmaceutical industry, said he visited China twice, in 2000 and 2007, and saw a country undergoing enormous changes.

“China is developing very fast, faster than any other country in the world. I saw huge changes in the country, a lot of improvement, in environment for instance,” he said.

Dil was holding a red Chinese flag and wearing a Beijing Olympics T-shirt that he bought in China last year. “People should go to China, see with their own eyes and then make their point,” he said.

Bento Mol, a Dutch IT project manager, said he would embark on a two-month “Olympics journey” across the Eurasian continent next month.

Forty-two people driving more than 20 vehicles will leave for China June 21 and the “Going Dutch caravan” is scheduled to arrive in Beijing Aug 8, the day the Games open.

“The Olympics are an international event and everybody should enjoy them. I don’t see any point in boycotting the Games,” said Mol, wearing a red T-shirt to express solidarity with China and the Olympics.

Fu Junwei was happy that many Dutch people helped with the preparations for the rally, such as translation of the slogans and leaflets, and many Dutch people signed on the Olympics banner that is to be presented to the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee.

“The rally would not be half as successful as now but for our Dutch friends’ support,” he said.

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