The adorable face of authoritarianism


Alas, Beijing was not to be, or I’d have picked up some of these plush cuties as gifts while I was there (seen here in the window of the Hong Kong travel agency where we placed our deposit). These are the official mascots of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, a welcome return to cuteness for the summer games after the weird, weirder, and weirdest of the last three olympiads (don’t even get me started on Izzy).

From the official Beijing 2008 mascot page:

Each of fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name — a traditional way of expressing affection for children in china. Beibei is the fish, Kingjing is the panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic flame, Yingying is the Tibetan antelope and Nini is the swallow.

When you put their names together — bei jing huan ying ni — they say “welcome to Beijing,” offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic games.

I apologize to the certain (obvious?) someone who would have received Jingjing — i really wanted to get him for you.

I’ve always dreamed of visiting Beijing, since seeing pictures, hearing stories, of the Forbidden City & Great Wall when i was a young girl. Honestly, though, I’m more interested these days in China’s modern political history than its ancient glory. It’d have been fascinating to see a city in reinvention as it tries to put on a good face for the world.

Maybe someday.

  • pastilla

    Someday I hope you will go back, too :)

    Circumstances also conspired against me in China, and kept me in a hotel room for much of the trip.

    Here's to another grand trip for us both ::clink::

    (Meet you at the Reed Flute caves of Guilin.)

  • Those are too adorable! If you're interesting in modern China (and stock), may I recommend Maoxian?

  • O_o Is it coincidence that jingjing looks like Panda-Z?

    ...I think not. ^^

  • Patty

    Oh, I love the "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni"! If it weren't for the fact that Beijing will be outrageously expensive in 2008, I'd go.

  • miranda

    aww selv. seeing the photo is every bit as good, honest... :D

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