Louisa Lim reports for NPR:
“This is incredibly dramatic for a global perception of China, and also for China’s self-perception [that] it can handle something on this scale,” says historian Jonathan Spence of Yale University. “It’s a kind of financial coming-of-age. It’ll be an important marker, probably in a positive direction, as far as we can tell at the moment.”
Chinese leaders received 80 world leaders for the opening ceremony, including President Bush. The dignitaries attended a banquet, described as the most important meal in Chinese history. Such a concentration of political influence paying court to Beijing spoke volumes about China’s new soft power.
Read also: China’s Olympic legacy by Al Jazeera English:
After living and breathing the Olympics for seven years, for a while at least China will be able to bask in the games’ success.
“Post-Olympics China, at least in the first one or two years, will be marked with triumphant glory and renewed ambition,” Professor Xu Wu, a former Xinhua reporter and now professor of journalism at Arizona State university, told Al Jazeera.