Smiley-face fireworks for opening ceremony

/ Source: The Associated Press

Smiley-face fireworks will burst in the skies above Beijing for the opening ceremony at the Olympics.

Cai Guoqiang, the main artistic director for the opening ceremony fireworks show, offered a glimpse of the plans on Wednesday, just 2½ weeks before the start of the games.

Ticket-holders won’t be the only ones viewing the display. The fireworks will be launched from more than 1,800 sites around the city, including major urban areas near Tiananmen Square and the Bird’s Nest stadium near the Olympic Village.

“We want the Olympic spirit to be seen and felt throughout the entire city on the evening of the opening ceremonies,” said Cai, a famous Chinese artist.

Part of the opening ceremony also will feature fireworks in the shape of a yellow dragon with red peony flowers in the background. With smiley faces in the air and on trained volunteers, China’s authoritarian government is trying to soften its image for the worldwide audience during the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the central government posted a notice on its Web site Wednesday that ordered advertisers not to show obscene, pornographic, or superstitious ads.

Advertisers need to be especially careful with ads that deal with national sovereignty and security, religion, or reconstruction after the Sichuan earthquake. The notice said “the way the Olympic advertising market operates directly affects the nation’s image.”