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Special> Video> Sports
UPDATED: September 7, 2008  
President Hu Hosts Banquet to Welcome Foreign Dignitaries

President Hu Jintao has hosted a grand banquet for foreign dignitaries who'll attend the Paralympics opening ceremony tonight.

Photo taken on Sept. 6, 2008 shows the welcoming luncheon of the Beijing Paralympic Games, hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his wife Liu Yongqing in honor of dignitaries and their spouses, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. [Pang Xinglei/Xinhua]

Hu Jintao thanked the international community for their support and said China will continue to make the welfare of its disabled population a priority.

About 50 foreign dignitaries and their spouses gathered at the Great Hall of People on Saturday for a welcome luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The President said the Paralympic Games have become an important cultural and sports event that helps enhance mutual understanding and friendship among people and promote human civilization.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said, "The Paralympic Movement inspires people with and without disability to interact in the same global family, enjoy equal rights in the society and build a harmonious world together."

Over 4,000 athletes from more than 140 countries and regions will participate in the Beijing Paralympic Games. Hu said he is confident that Beijing and China will deliver a high-standard Paralympic Games with distinctive features.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said, "We are sincerely fulfilling our commitment to the international community. We set as our goal to have "two Games with equal splendor". Guided by the concept of "transcendence, integration and equality", we have made a very great effort in the preparation for the Games."

Hu said China has been an active participant in the Paralympic movement. He stressed the country has always attached importance to the well-being of its 83 million disabled people and said those efforts will be continued.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said, "We follow the principle of putting people first and advocating a humanitarian spirit. We stand for equality, oppose discrimination, care for the vulnerable and respect human rights. Our achievements have been recognized by all. The Beijing Paralympics is an opportunity for us to further promote the humanitarian spirit, protect the rights and interests of people with disability and ensure that they share the benefits of economic and social development as equal members of society."

President Hu Jintao said he believed the Beijing Paralympics will leave a rich legacy for the development of sports for people with a disability.

(CCTV September 6, 2008)


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