BEIJING was in a state of depression yesterday as the central Government drew an upbeat conclusion to its failure to host the 2000 Olympic Games. Vice-Premier Li Lanqing, who led the Beijing bid team to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Monte Carlo, said the bidding process helped the world know and understand more about China. He said before leaving Monaco: ''China will, as always, continue to participate in the Olympic movement and contribute to the promotion of the Olympic spirit,'' according to a Xinhua (The New China News Agency) report. Chen Xitong, president of the Beijing 2000 Bid Committee, reassured Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson after the announcement ceremony that China would participate in the 1996 Games. Minutes after the voting results were announced, the state-run television read a commentary from yesterday's People's Daily, saying ''China will be resolutely open'' under the continuing reforms of patriarch Deng Xiaoping. It pointed out that it remained the ''strong aspiration of the Chinese people now and in the future to host the Olympic Games''. ''We blame no others and we won't give ourselves up as hopeless. We should realise that the most important thing is to have a high aspiration if we want to achieve something, to be understood by others. We should first do domestic things well,'' it said. Leading dissident Wei Jingsheng, who supported Beijing's bid, said the country should accept the decision with a relaxed attitude. ''In the past, people didn't even want to live after [their football team] lost by one goal in a game. There has already been great progress now,'' he said. In Beijing, the city slowly came to terms with the fact that it would not be leading the Olympic movement into the next millennium. Although many of the huge Olympic billboards and banners that adorn the city were still in place, the Olympic spirit had long since departed. ''There's no point bidding for the 2004 Games. Where's the significance in that?'' a middle-aged factory worker said. ''We've lost, that's all there is to it.'' While the Government and the official media tried to put a positive spin on Beijing's narrowest of defeats in the final vote in Monte Carlo, most people on the streets could not hide their disappointment. Some did not go to work after staying up late to watch the live broadcast. Many Beijing residents were angry at what they saw as American interference in the bidding race, although there were no demonstrations outside the American Embassy as had been expected at one stage. One taxi driver did, however, get a chance to vent his fury on two elderly American tourists, who attempted to climb into his cab outside one of the major hotels. ''You American?'' the driver said in English as the tourists were about to open the door. When they replied yes, the driver yelled expletives and drove off, leaving the bewildered tourists behind. While the taxi driver's actions may have been extreme, his sentiments were shared by many in Beijing, and Western embassies were told to take precautions against a possible anti-foreign backlash. The depth of feeling at the IOC vote reflected the huge expectations that had been built up by the Government's massive propaganda campaign. Even those who do not as a rule listen to propaganda, such as dissident Wang Dan, were taken aback by the result. ''I'm a little shocked because I really thought we had this one wrapped up,'' Mr Wang said yesterday. Very few people, however, are blaming the Government, although those who heard about Vice-Mayor Zhang Baifa's hint at a boycott of the 1996 Atlanta Games are calling for blood.