Special Report: Yearender 2008
BEIJING, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- In 2008, the world has come to know China with the hitherto unprecedented scope, depth, and first-hand perception.
It has been an unusual year for China -- it faced up to unprecedented challenges brought about by the snow disaster in the south and the calamitous earthquake in the southwest, and took great delight in successfully hosting a spectacular Olympics gala and accomplishing the historic feat by completing the nation's first spacewalk.
In a year when the world has been undergoing a profound change, China has opened its doors wider with broad-mindedness, increased confidence and a stronger determination to improve itself, and shouldered a greater responsibility in global political and financial affairs.
China and the rest of the world have become more closely linked. As Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi put it: "Historic changes are taking place in the relationship between China and the world as a whole."
Riding out Difficulties, China Held in Higher Esteem by World
The expected and unexpected events that happened in China this year have drawn global attention.
On May 12, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake jolted southwest China, causing huge casualties and massive destruction. United as one and standing up to combat the disaster with prompt and effective rescue efforts, China won sympathy and respect from the world.
On Aug. 8, the Beijing Olympiad captivated some 2 billion spectators and TV audience worldwide with its splendid opening ceremony, enabling them to enjoy a charming night that epitomizes China's 5,000-year civilization.
The Beijing Olympiad drew a record number of 204 sports delegations that cover the widest ever geographical areas in the Games' history, and was given heavy coverage by world media. This has enabled the world to see not only a "truly exceptional" Olympiad, but also a more open and colorful China.
Then China impressed the world again by launching the Shenzhou VII spacecraft into space and accomplishing its maiden space walk. The feat has made China the third country in the world to stage extra-vehicular activity and the only developing country capable of manned space exploration.
Commenting on Chinese taikonaut Zhai Zhigang's space walk, Reuters had this to say: "Zhai's brief but historic outing in a Chinese-designed space suit... capped a year in which the country has both coped with the tragedy of the devastating Sichuan earthquake and reveled in the Beijing Olympics."