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Beijing Games Will Further Boost China's Opening-up Drive: Belgian Scholar
    2008-08-21 22:15:44     Xinhua

by Xie Dongfeng

"The success of the Beijing Olympic Games has showcased China's strong capabilities, boosted mutual understanding between the Chinese and foreign citizens, and will surely stimulate its further opening up," Gustaaf Geeraerts, a Belgian expert on China studies, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

"The Beijing Games are such a wonderful event, and have been well-organized. Everyone involved has done a good job. The opening ceremony was the largest and most brilliant in Olympic history," said Geeraerts, director of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (BICCS).

In the past seven years since winning the bid to host the Games, Beijing and China as a whole have undergone tremendous changes, which he was very impressed with during his visit to the country last December, Geeraerts said.

The preparations for the Games and the speed of construction of the Olympic venues had been perfect, showcasing China's extraordinary capability to host such a large event and also the country's image as an emerging power, he said.

As a visiting professor of China's Renmin University, the 58-year-old Geeraerts delivers lectures and conducts exchanges with Chinese scholars regularly.

Chinese scholars and students are becoming increasingly well-informed and open-minded in their academic studies, and are keen to hold dialogue with foreign scholars and students, he said.

"The vibrant academic atmosphere in China is unbelievable," the Belgian scholar said, stressing that in a way it demonstrates the deepening of China's reform and opening-up process.

The Beijing Games have succeeded in improving the world's understanding of China and its culture, Geeraerts said.

The world now has a more positive and real view of China and its development, and many people have completely corrected the image of "a poor and backward China" they may have wrongly maintained prior to the Games, he added.

Geeraerts said the success of the ongoing Beijing Games will surely promote China's image and standing in the world, boost the country's confidence, reforms and opening up, and facilitate social development.

"The power of the Chinese people is so huge, they are full of strength. A country like this is very promising," he said.

However, Geeraerts pointed out that not all of the world welcomes China's development, referring to some of the Western nations' unease with China's fast development and the breakdown of the traditional global power balance.

The West, by and large, still holds long-standing prejudices against China, which was made very clear when major Western media gave "one-sided" and biased reports on the Tibet issue and during the global Olympic torch relay, he added.

Nevertheless, China should stick to its own model of development, he advised.

One of the main responsibilities of BICCS is to introduce China to Belgians and other Europeans in a more balanced manner to promote their understanding of the oriental nation, Geeraerts said.

The BICCS is a cooperative project between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels University of Freedom) and Renmin University of China. It focuses on the current state of affairs in China and on the country's expected developments in the future.

Geeraerts, who is married to a Chinese lady, said he is fond of China from the bottom of his heart.

"When I first set foot in China in 1997, I liked it. It is difficult to explain in words. I feel so comfortable in my interactions with Chinese friends."

 
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