Students in Canada run in support of Beijing Olympics

May 4th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by admin  

Ottawa, May 4 (Xinhua) More than 1,000 international students from Canadian universities and colleges gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to participate in the “Beijing-Vancouver Olympics Run” that supported summer and winter games. Carrying Canada’s Maple Leaf flags and China’s five-star red flags, the students ran about two kilometres from Parliament Hill to Major’s Hill Park Saturday, to show their support for the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

At a rally before the run, representatives read out an open letter to the Canadian public and youths around the world, calling for global efforts to separate the Olympics from politics and defend the true Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

“Since its first day, the Olympic movement was meant to foster exchanges, friendship and solidarity among countries and nations for a more harmonious world through sports. Political exploitation of the Olympics is not only against common sense, but also a tragedy for the Olympic movement itself,” the letter said.

“We hope to see an end to all words and deeds in disagreement with what the Olympic movement stands for, and genuine respect for what the athletes aspire and have been working for,” it said.

The students, from various countries including India, France, Colombia, China and Portugal, then chanted such slogans as “One World, One Dream”, “Celebrate in Beijing, Welcome to Vancouver” and “Beijing, Vancouver, Canada, China, friendship forever!”

Abdou Rachid, a mathematics student from Algeria, said a lot of people seem to forget that the Olympic spirit is about sportsmanship and unity.

“There should be no confusion between politics and sport. I really don’t like what activists and the media have done to the Olympic movement,” he said.

Chen Chunlin, president of the Chinese Student Association at the University of Montreal and one of the organisers of the event, felt encouraged to see the Canadian flags mingle with the Chinese flags in the crowd.

“This run is just like the Olympics. Everyone who wants to come to the Olympics is welcome. That is the same here. We want all kinds of people to join us. It doesn’t matter who they are, what their nationality is, their culture or politics,” he said.

Jean Zhang, a Chinese graduate student studying economics at Concordia University in Montreal, said she is hurt and insulted by the superficial view many people have of the situation in Tibet.

But she said she appreciates the Canadian value of harmony between different cultures.

“Canada is all about friendship. As ordinary Chinese students living here in Canada, the only thing we can do is to stand up at events like this and show that we too believe in friendship,” she said.

Daiyu Wang, a Chinese Canadian from Ottawa, said he agrees with the students’ passion for harmony and solidarity among all the peoples of the world.

“Young people, and not only Chinese young people, but from other countries, too, believe in the Olympic slogan of ‘One World, One Dream.’ I really enjoy that. That’s what we believe in Canada, too.”

In a written message to the rally, Senator Vivienne Poy spoke highly of the event.

“The Beijing-Canada run is about friendship, solidarity and fair play. By holding this celebration today, you are showing yourselves as an inspiration to youths around the world,” he said.

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