It is a sign of the times. Change is imminent and the dominance of power is likely to swing east. The 2008 Olympics will be held in China on a grand and spectacular scale. Preparations are already at hand from mascots and theme songs to the training for gold. No detail is left to chance as China awakens to its new role as a major economic player and a leader in the east. The torch, a culturally and historically rich symbol for the Olympic Games, will not only carry the flame of the Games but represent the spirit and passion of the Chinese in an international event. Thus, the design of the torch is not only technologically advanced but also culturally significant.
According to tradition, the torch must be transported to the host city from Olympia in Greece by a relay of runners and the final runner will use it to light the cauldron at the host stadium. Having to traverse vast and varied terrain across geographically expansive China, the Olympic torch must not go out. In order to ensure tradition is upheld, a torch design lab has been set up by China Aerospace and Science and Industry Corp. to eliminate the chances of the flame going out even in stormy weather, torrential rain or the oxygen-thin atmosphere of Mount Everest. China, which has the reputation of being a lumbering and slumbering economic giant, hopes to prove its worth in science and technology through this symbolic torch.

The design of the torch also prominently shows the cultural identity and rejuvenation of the Chinese. Instead of the traditional torch, China has come up with a design that integrates Chinese cultural traits in its overall shape, motifs and colour. The torch resembles a scroll, a highly prized item in Chinese history and culture. The cloud patterns resemble the abode of the deities in many Chinese myths, and they also symbolise the dreams of China and the whole world at large. Red lacquer is a traditionally common and revered colour for the Chinese. The design is uniquely Chinese and testifies to China’s rich culture and history as well as its creativity.

The 2008 Olympics in China is an event not to be missed for China has injected new excitement, meaning and enthusiasm into this ancient Games. The technological marvel and unique design of the torch signal the emerging might and strength of modern China.