OLYMPIC STADIUM 2008


Less than a day after the closing of the Olympics, state media in China tried Monday to give the nation's Internet-savvy youth a new label: The Bird's Nest Generation.The term -- inspired by the nickname of the iconic National Stadium -- covers those aged 10 to 29, about a third of China's 1.3 billion people, who grew up during the nation's preparations for the Olympics, China Youth Daily said."This term is all about self-confidence, the love of peace, patriotism, openness and friendliness," the newspaper wrote.

The label was an apparent attempt to put a more positive spin on a generation often seen as spoiled and sometimes referred to as "little emperors" because of the one-child policy that focuses families' entire hopes on them.

Other positive qualities that the newspaper attached to the term included joyfulness, a sense of responsibility and spirit of participation."We were born at the right time to witness the success of the Olympics and enjoy the achievements of the opening up and reforms in our country," Wang Shanshan, 24, from the Olympic co-host city of Qingdao, was quoted as saying.

But Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who worked with Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron to design the Bird's Nest, has distanced himself from the government and the Olympics.He wrote in an opinion piece early this month that he boycotted the Olympics because his design was meant to embody freedom and fairness in contrast to the government's autocracy."We must bid farewell to autocracy.

Whatever shape it takes, whatever justification it gives, authoritarian government always ends up trampling on equality, denying justice and stealing happiness and laughter from the people," he wrote in London's Guardian newspaper.

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