Charming Chengdu to write a new history of Universiade: Global Times editorial
Published: Jul 29, 2023 12:40 AM
The opening ceremony of 31st Summer FISU World University Games on July 28, 2023 in Chengdu. Photo: Chen Tao/GT

The opening ceremony of 31st Summer FISU World University Games on July 28, 2023 in Chengdu. Photo: Chen Tao/GT

On Friday evening, the 31st Summer FISU World University Games opened with the clear and melodious singing of an ethnic-Yi youth from Liangshan, Sichuan Province. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and declared the opening of the Games, demonstrating great importance China attached to this event. China welcomed some 6,500 athletes from 113 countries and regions with its usual hospitality. In addition, leaders from countries such as Indonesia, Mauritania, Burundi, Guyana and Georgia attended the opening ceremony and visited China.

This is the third time that Chinese mainland has hosted the Summer World University Games, following the Games held in Beijing in 2001 and Shenzhen in 2011. It is the first large-scale international sports event held in an open format in China since the pandemic. It also marks the first time that a world-class multi-sport event has been held in the western part of China. It can be foreseen that Chengdu will not only leave unforgettable memories for participating athletes, guests, and global audiences but also create a historically significant new record in the history of the Universiade.

The World University Games has always been a celebration of youth, solidarity and friendship. Unlike other large international sports events, the participants in the Universiade are primarily young people. While it is formally a competitive sports event, its core spirit lies in fostering exchanges among the youth. In today's world, the atmosphere of confrontation and opposition is overwhelming, and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant decline in international exchanges. The outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has further intensified the division of the world.

Against this background, the Chengdu Universiade provides a precious opportunity and platform for university students of various races, nationalities, languages, and religious beliefs from around the world to come together, broaden their horizons, expand their visions, and enhance friendships through communication. The future of humanity rests in the hands of young people, and it is necessary to create opportunities for the youth to experience the value and power of unity.

China has been hosting more and more major international sports events, and even during the pandemic, it successfully hosted the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and soon the Asian Games will kick off in Hangzhou. By hosting these events, China has shown openness, warmth and friendliness to the world. Today, global society in particular needs to preserve a few fields untainted by geopolitics, and sports is one of them. There, solidarity, friendship and cooperation are the main theme, fully reflecting the significance of the community with a shared future for mankind.

Frankly speaking, many countries have been less willing to host international events due to complicated factors. This is a test of the sense of responsibility to some extent. The world has formed a strong impression that, as long as it is run by China, the venues construction, event organization, and the service level of the event are undoubtedly first-class. This has formed a reliable brand effect. The tradition of Chinese hospitality makes people feel at home, and the significance of the competition is better highlighted through the high-level organization of the event. The fact that the Universiade is being held in Chengdu also emphasized the cozy atmosphere of the city. Chengdu's lifestyle, cuisines, pandas, and its profound history and culture are all part of the city's unique charm. President Xi encouraged the guests to tour the city, to experience and share firsthand the multifaceted manifestations of the Chinese path to modernization.

China has always been committed to the peace and development of humankind. In his speech at the welcoming banquet of the opening ceremony, President Xi said that the country should carry forward the spirit of the World University Games to stand up to global challenges in solidarity. Large-scale international events like the Universiade are also an opportunity to transcend geopolitical tensions and Cold War mentality. As President Xi has pointed out, we should promote solidarity through sports, build up positive energy across the international community, join hands to tackle global challenges such as climate change, food crisis and terrorism, and shape a better future through cooperation.