2008-07-10 02:02:45 GMT 2008-07-10 10:02:45 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
by Wang Jiangang
NEW YORK, July 9 (Xinhua) -- When Alfred Abati first visited China in 1988, he never thought that this ancient civilization would be able to host such a huge international event like the Olympic Games so soon.
Two decades later, just one month before the kickoff of the Beijing Olympic Games, Abati, vice president of the New York Chapter of the U.S.-China People's Friendship Association (USCPFA),said that any miracles can happen in China.
"Although I will not be there physically, I will be there with the Chinese people in spirit and cheer on all the athletes," Abati said with delight, despite his poor health condition.
Abati said although he has not been to Beijing for four years, he never stopped keeping an eye on the developments in China.
"I have been very impressed with the preparations that Beijing has made for the upcoming Olympics," he said, adding that the event was "wonderful" for all the Chinese people.
"The Chinese people should be so proud of their country that they have been able to pull this off," he said.
Abati has been to China several times, but he seems to have an exceptionally strong memory of his trip to Beijing in 2004 when he was selected as a special delegate for the celebrations marking the 55th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Abati recalled that he was received by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. He visited the building of the Beijing organizing Committee for the Games of the 29th Olympiad (BOCOG) where he was presented with Beijing Olympic Games posters.
As for the politicization of the Beijing Olympic Games, Abati said it is not fair to do that as it will hurt the feelings of the athletes.
The athletes have been working very hard, and they should have the opportunity to do their activities, Abati said, adding that the Olympics must be "politics free."
Abati used to be a member of the swimming team in Staten Island where he lives.
Founded in 1974, the USCPFA is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization with the aim of promoting friendship and understanding between the American and Chinese people.
He added that the friendship between the two peoples was important as it would help improve relations between the two countries.
Abati said that through decades of hard work, China has become a major world power. He believes that China will surely make the Olympic Games a great success.
"I feel happy for the Chinese people and they will give the world a pleasant surprise," he said.