Beijing Erupts in Celebration

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Fireworks and green lasers lit up the sky and lion dancers joined ballerinas in celebration Friday night after Beijing won the 2008 Olympics.

Thousands of people who had gathered at an official ceremony to await the announcement broke into cheers when giant TV screens showed International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch announcing Beijing's selection in Moscow.

"Beijing! Beijing!" shouted the crowd gathered in front of an outdoor stage on the west side of the city. Many then began singing the Chinese national anthem.

Members of the Beijing bid committee seated at the foot of the red-draped stage jumped with joy and slapped each other on the back.

On Tiananmen Square in the center of the city, people standing around radios carrying live reports fell silent as the moment approached, and then erupted in cheers after the announcement.

Some began waving Chinese flags and beating drums.

"This is a historic moment. It shows that China is becoming stronger," said Leo Zhou, an 18-year-old high school student.

His classmate, Cai Lei, added, "I'm really moved. It really should be Beijing. They put a lot into their planning."