ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
So it’s all over. Hard to believe.
Anyway, there’s a nice analytical piece on the meaning of the Games themselves here on Time.com and a piece on the zinger of a basketball final (when the crowd ended up cheering for underdogs Spain, who at several points threatened to pull off a huge, huge upset over the US redeem team) here.
Like everyone else, we’ll have a wither China after the Games piece up later, to which I will link. Meanwhile though on that note, I was interested to hear that the crowd in Tiananmen Square during the closing fireworks were chanting: 中国 起来, Zhongguo qilai. It is a chant I hadn’t heard before in the last few weeks and though ostensibly simple, is a bit tricky to translate. Simply put it means “China Rises” or “China awakens” but it definitely has a sense of something starting and continuing, so maybe “China is awakening” might be more accurate. The phrase has a number of historical echoes: first the phrase Mao Zedong used in the same square at the formal proclamation of the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, “The Chinese people have stood up!” 中国人民站起来了! (Added later: it also occurs of course that “Qilai!” ‘Arise!” is the first word of the national anthem, repated lower down three times in a row as a call to action when “China faces its greatest danger.”) Others might think of Napoleon Buonaparte’s oft quoted phrase: La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la chine s’éveillera, le monde tremblera. China sleeps. Let her sleep. When she awakes, she will shake the world.
Anyway, enough history. It was a great moment for China. A moment to be proud of everything that has been accomplished by the Chinese people and look forward to even greater things to come.
中国 加油, Zhongguo jiayou!