British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that he looked forward to celebrating the Olympic spirit in Beijing, hitting back at a political rival who questioned his decision to attend the Games.
Brown told Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday that he expected both British and Chinese athletes to "perform to the maximum of their ability" and "celebrate genuine Olympic ideals of sportsmanship" at the ongoing Games.
"This is, I think, the most important message of the Olympics - that the world can be brought together through sport - and it is what I will be going to Beijing to celebrate," Brown was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
The British prime minister arrived in Beijing yesterday with his wife Sarah, and two young sons John and Fraser.
He will attend the closing ceremony of the Games on Sunday.
Prior to his arrival in Beijing, he had to overcome efforts to politicize the Olympics.
In a public letter to opposition Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who questioned Brown's attendance at the Olympics by citing concerns over "human rights", Brown said supporting China's "reengagement" in the world was in Britain's national interest.
"Support for the Games and engagement with China is not at the expense of human rights. It is integral to their promotion. China has made enormous social and economic progress over the last three decades, but much more remains to be done," he wrote.
Britain has been a big winner in Beijing, ranking third on the medals table as of yesterday, after China and the United States, with 17 golds.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.