This article is the positive (and in my opinion, non-political) message most Chinese would like the Olympics to represent. I can only hope that this sentiment wins out.
Crowds in Haikou were friendly to foreigners, showing little of the angry, anti-Western sentiments of recent weeks after protests in London, Paris and San Francisco that some Chinese saw as an attack against China and the Olympics.
“Welcome to China!” university students called out, some sporting face paint and tooting plastic horns as the convoy streamed by.
Others following the torch were celebrating that many in China have left the hard life behind after 30 years of free-market economic reforms.
In a dusty field outside the closing ceremony in Haikou, 64-year-old retiree Ren Anqing stood out from the young crowd in his old-style undershirt, shorts and sandals. “When I was young, I raised cows,” he said, smiling. “These kids? They have everything.”
Ren has a computer now so he can e-mail his son, who’s about to earn a doctorate after studies that included a year in Singapore — all unimaginable when his father was growing up.
“If I was young again in China? Wah!” Ren said, his smile getting wider. “That would be a great thing.”
And here’s a little French/Chinese Fraternité in Guangzhou:
More snapshots from the relay in Guangzhou, after the jump.