Years of preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games culminated Friday as world leaders converged in China to watch the Games' opening ceremonies. Analysts examine what the event means for China's place on the global political and economic stage.
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It has been a day of pomp and pageantry, unmatched in the annals of the Olympics and cheered on by an unprecedented number of world leaders ever to show up for a sporting event.
President Bush headed the list. Among those joining also in the warm greetings were Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and French President Nicholas Sarkozy. They met at a lunch hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao hours before the lavish opening ceremonies Friday night.
For more on what this Olympic moment represents for China, we get three perspectives.
Victor Cha is director of Asian studies at Georgetown University. He served as director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council earlier in the Bush administration. His forthcoming book is "Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia."
Orville Schell is director of the center on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society. He's written widely on China and produced many documentaries on the country, as well.
And Minxin Pei is co-director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He travels to and writes frequently about China, as well.
Welcome to you all, gentlemen.