The National Flag Story
By Wang Yongli
As the aircraft ascended into the sky I looked outside through the cabin window and found Doha, the beautiful bay city, brilliantly illuminated like a shining jewel. The myriad of twinkling lights of the city formed a gleaming oval shell, while in the centre, the transparent Sheraton Hotel looked like a huge pearl radiating a dazzling light. I looked at this landscape, and I heartily said: “How beautiful, Doha, goodbye, Doha!”
Maybe only in this moment did we have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Doha. Over the past few days I had been busy reporting on the meeting, so what the city of Doha looked like, my colleagues and I, a group of CCTV reporters, really did not know. Every day we were so buried in the press center, interviewing, reporting, and editing, that we nearly did not have time to eat, rest, or even to sleep. Before boarding the plane, when the meeting was just over, my colleagues and I in the press center were anxiously waiting for the result that the meeting would reach an agreement to start a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. I made the final report to the headquarters of CCTV, before we had to board the plane leaving Doha.
Witnessing China's accession to the world trade organization on 10 November 2001, I, a reporter, felt very excited (besides tired and exhausted), as one billion three hundred million Chinese had dreamed about the moment for fifteen years. In the meeting hall, all deputies clapped hands with a prolonged applause after agreeing China's accession to the WTO. A great dream became true. All Chinese people were hailing, jumping, and tearing. Besides this, what got me over-excited was the story of the Chinese national flag at the signature signing ceremony.
On National Day in Tiananmen Square on 1 October 1999 an old Shanghai gentleman named Zhang with a huge national flag made the flag rise in the ceremony of celebration. Later, on 18 October of that year, he asked the flag designer Ceng Liansong to sign his name on it. The old gentleman died not long after. His will was to have the flag witness all of China’s important victories. The flag was first taken to the Sydney 2000 Olympic celebration site. On 13 July 2001 China successfully applied to hold the Olympic Games, and the five star red flag appeared in the live broadcast to celebrate the big victory. Zhang also hoped that the flag would witness China's accession to the World Trade Organization.
Late on 11 November 2001, my colleague Xiao Zhensheng and I contacted the Chinese government delegation to ask all of its members to sign their names on the flag and to take photos with it. When Minister Shi Guangsheng heard this he said yes with a very happy mood. Before going into the venue, my colleague Xiao Zhensheng had other task, so he handed the flag to me, and asked me to take it to the delegation. I received the heavy national flag from him and my mood became very heavy, for I knew this was not just an ordinary Chinese person’s desire, but the desire of all the Chinese people. All Chinese people had been looking forward to China's early accession to the WTO, but the waiting time became so long that many black haired people became white-haired, and many people failed to see this moment, leaving us with regret.
Holding the flag with two hands, I trudged into the Magarris conference hall at the Sheraton Hotel and, standing face to face handed the flag over to the Chinese government delegation. When Minister Shi Guangsheng signed his signature in the legal document of the Chinese accession to the WTO, which was about thirteen kilograms, the Chinese delegation members then stretched the five star red flag on the chairman's podium, to make the signing ceremony more magnificent. Each Chinese person present stood up and clapped hands as cheerfully as larks—our hands became red from the heavy clapping. At this moment only the applause and sobbing tears of joy could express the mixed Chinese feelings. All the Chinese government delegation members stood in a row under the huge red flag and the photographers snapped pictures of them to record the important event. The dream all Chinese people had waited such a long time for was now true, the Chinese could be proud and pleased! At this moment, the national anthem was sung from our mouths and hearts, resounding over and over in the conference hall. Perhaps no other country had been applying to join the WTO for fifteen years to feel this way. Although China 's accession to the WTO experienced ups and downs, because the Chinese people, with all its ethnic groups under the leadership of the central committee of the party, made great efforts in reforming and opening up, we made a brilliant achievement and our big dream became true. We were proud for our motherland and proud for the people!
Of course, China's accession to the WTO means a new beginning. China can has an equal opportunity to take part in the competition of international trade, but the road ahead will not be smooth or the same as in the past, so we need to struggle to forge ahead. Doha is only a new starting point. Goodbye Doha. Doha, Goodbye.
The most touching thing: the announcement of China's accession to the WTO and the Chinese clapping hands with such strong feelings at that moment.
The most impressive thing: that Arab people are very serious. For example, if you are in a stall to buy items, you cannot purchase three items together and sum the value yourself, you till up an item at a time in front of the calculator—there is no play for your mental arithmetic.
The thoughts about China's accession to the WTO: after entry to the WTO China will face greater challenges.