Sun, September 14, 2008
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Commentary: Double celebration sends messages of harmony and love

2008-09-14 09:52:33 GMT2008-09-14 17:52:33 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

A nearly full moon over the National Stadium or better known as the Bird's Nest in Beijing on early September 14, 2008, which is now hosting the athletic competition for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. Paralympians in Beijing will get a taste of China's Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on September 14 this year.(Photo Source: China Daily/Agencies)

A nearly full moon over the National Stadium or better known as the Bird's Nest in Beijing on early September 14, 2008, which is now hosting the athletic competition for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.(Photo Source: China Daily/Agencies)

A staff member of the Paralympic Village cafeteria poses with mooncakes as the Mid Autumn Day (a traditional Chinese festival featuring family reunions) falls on Sunday. (Photo Source: China Daily/Agencies)

A Paralympian eats a Chinese mooncake in the Paralympic Village, September 14, 2008. (Photo Source: China Daily/Agencies)

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Mid-Autumn Day is known by its most celebrated icon: the mooncake. But this year the festival has got an additional flavor with the Beijing Paralympic Games under way.

Usually the Chinese spend the holiday with family dinners or get-togethers with close friends, but on Sunday they got a new option: watching the Paralympic competitions together -- at the Games venues or in front of TV -- and cheer for the great spirit and sportsmanship displayed by the elite disabled athletes.

For the Chinese, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional occasion to celebrate family values and mankind's harmony with nature. Similarly, the Paralympics is also a grand celebration of human spirit and values, as the heroes and heroines of the Games have exuded powerful messages of grace, harmony and love of life.

I have counted myself privileged to witness some of the Paralympic sporting events, and that was really an eye-opening experience. And I believe there are few who would leave the stadiums untouched by the Paralympians' indomitable spirit.

Birth deficiencies, mutilating car accidents, landmine explosions, wrong medical drips and the ghostly specter of cancer, there are many different reasons behind the athletes' disabilities. But they share one thing in common: to take the challenges of life head-on.

Some plunged to the abyss of devastation, but reemerged with an unfailing spirit, and they have shown in the most touching and convincing way that a strong heart knows no boundaries.

"Like age, gender and ethnicities, disabilities are part of the diversities of mankind," wrote Deng Pufang, head of China's Disabled Persons' Federation, in an article published by the Qiushi Magazine.

The pains that befall on the disabled are the tuition for social development such as medical breakthroughs, improved work safety rules, or better traffic management, he added.

While the Mid-Autumn Festival reminds us of the importance of our family, the Paralympics may help us realize that every one in the world, disabled or able-bodied, belongs to one big family, and we share one dream.

So on this special Sunday, let's have a double celebration: to celebrate the Paralympic spirit by honoring the principles of "transcendence, integration and equality," and to celebrate the moon festival with a commitment to harmony and love.

by Xinhua writer Lou Chen

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