China's relations with the West have been greatly improved thanks to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, China's Ambassador to the United Kingdom Fu Ying said in London on Wednesday.
Speaking at a reception to mark the end of the Games, Fu said that after seeing a change in the attitudes of some Western journalists, she was confident "China's relations with the world, especially with the West, have made a large step forward".
Fu said in June she invited several British journalists to lunch in Beijing and many of them had complaints regarding the Olympic Games.
"But toward the end of the Olympics, I found they were much more relaxed, much more confident of Beijing's success, and they were able to transfer that message to the world."
The ambassador, who accompanied British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Beijing for the Games, said the Olympics helped Chinese people to better understand the world, while visiting journalists learned about China.
"The Chinese public has now seen the world's many and diverse cultures, and has engaged with Westerners at a human level," she said.
"The 30,000 journalists who covered the Games have also taken China to the world.
"I received lots of letters from the British public after I came back (from Beijing). I sometimes read them late into the night and am always moved by their warmth toward the Beijing Games," she said.
When asked how the Olympic venues might be used in the future, Fu joked that people never need worry about filling empty spaces in China, with its population of 1.3 billion.
"The Water Cube will become an aquatic park while the Bird's Nest will probably become the home ground for the Beijing Guoan football team," she said.
Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association, and Simon Clegg, its chief executive, expressed their gratitude to Beijing.
"We owe a huge debt of thanks to the BOCOG and to all those involved in organizing the Games," Moynihan said.
"The facilities were second to none, the preparations were first class, and above all, the lesson we learned for 2012, is to put athletes first.
"Thank you for giving that experience to the British athletes and to the athletes of the world," he said.
"For us in London, we have a great amount to learn and we learned it from you."
Clegg said: "Beijing was an incredible experience.
"But this chapter of the Olympic movement now closes and we move on to London.
"I have no doubt the Olympic movement is a richer and a stronger place as a result to the Games of Beijing in 2008." he said.
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