From 2008 to 2022, a confident China shows the world a new state of mind
Published: Feb 05, 2022 02:47 PM
Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2022 shows a cauldron holding the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2022 shows a cauldron holding the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.(Photo: Xinhua)

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games began with a fascinating, vibrant, and glittering opening ceremony that presented the world a China that is becoming more confident. Fourteen years after having hosted the 2008 Games, the country has marched into a new era.
This era is different because China no longer has to strive hard to showcase itself to the world. Back in 2008, when China was just about to prove itself on the world stage, grabbing an Olympic moment made the country and the people more than just overjoyed, because it was a precious opportunity for China to show the world "who I am." Indeed, the 2008 Games were a game-changer - many people around the world, especially Westerners, no longer viewed China as poor and pathetic, and it was from then on that China peacefully rose to global leadership both politically and economically.
With the opening ceremony of the 2008 Games acting as the innovation foundation for the 2022 Games, China is no longer burdened with the task of explaining to the world "who I am." Rather, it is in a position to review the world and tell the world "what I am doing" in a relaxed and confident manner. If the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics showed the world a magnificent Chinese civilization, the opening ceremony of the 2022 Games presented Chinese civilization and culture in a delicate and light-hearted way. Compared to the 2008 spectacular, the Friday event was noticeably toned down and shortened to about two hours and 20 minutes. This was partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was intended to balance the themes of "simpleness" and "splendidness." Although the Winter Olympic Games generally attract less attention than the Summer edition, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics has already caught as many eyes as one can imagine. 
From the countdown of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar, parade of countries in accordance to the number of strokes that are counted in the first character of their Chinese names, to the unprecedented flame-lit ceremony, each process entails a Chinese element that speaks for itself. Through the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022, China was also shown as a romantic country. Unlike the French version of romance, China's romance is deeply embedded in its cultural maturity and confidence as well as the profound national pride. 
Indeed, the opening ceremony featured no professional performers or celebrities, only ordinary people. The focus was not on China the country, but on the Chinese people as a whole. Zhang Tengjun, deputy director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that the event sent a unified and warm signal to the world and showcased what humanity should mean.
"Focusing on the people shows China's open-mindedness and elegance, with which China faces the world with more confidence, more kindness and more warmth. This is a new state of mind. With today's economic volume and global status, China aims to present the world an amicable, affable and respectable image," said Zhang. 
With this image in mind, China and the Chinese people do not care too much about the negative sentiment and attitude of US-led Western countries toward China. It is with this image in mind that China withstands their malicious and groundless accusations against the country and focuses on developing its own strengths. It is also with this image in mind that China sticks to its zero-COVID policy with the aim of protecting the lives of people. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Games was a success despite the so-called diplomatic boycott led by the US, and so will be the rest of the Games. All maneuvers that intend to embarrass China will turn out to be embarrassing for the instigators as China continues to calmly march forward. 
The Beijing Winter Games take place during a time when geopolitical tensions between China and the US-led West are running high. But the event is set to become a watershed of how the West views China as well as how China and the Chinese people view themselves. Confidence does not need to be spoken out, but flows tranquilly.