Particularly well received was a ballet performance by a young girl who lost a leg in May’s massive Sichuan earthquake. After a solitary sunbird flew suspended in a starlit sky – created by torchlight from the audience – and 300 deaf girls dressed in pure white signed in a stunning synchronised dance, the 12-year-old ballerina Li Yue led a ‘never-ending dance’ by conducting a group of ballerinas with hearing impairment, before being held aloft to a huge ovation.
Pages then peeled from a giant magic book to symbolise the change of seasons and the cycle of life before 2,000 children danced expressively and acrobatically – again in unison – dressed as frogs, seagulls, ducks and cows. The Paralympics mascot is Fu Niu Lele, a cow. Songs and fireworks reverberated, while 750 pairs of hands imitated birds in flight before the finale.
This was China trying to show its compassionate side. Chinese President Hu Jintao told an official lunch earlier in the day that the government was dedicated to improving the lives of the country’s 83 million disabled citizens. ‘We stand for equality, oppose discrimination, care for the vulnerable and respect human rights,’ Hu declared.
Read also “China opens Games, pledges disabled rights” from Reuters.