As part of the build-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Games' opening and closing ceremonies have been thrown open to the world. The event's organising committee, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, said yesterday it would accept proposals for the ceremonies from home and abroad until July 21. The committee says it is looking for inspirational ideas that can be developed to ensure the ceremonies and the event itself is remembered well past 2008. 'They should also cover the lighting of the Olympic flame,' committee vice-president Jiang Xiaoyu said. He said the ceremonies would need to help spread the Olympic spirit, create a jubilant atmosphere and a feeling of 'coming home' for all participants. Proposals would have to include the concepts of a 'green' and hi-tech Olympics, and 'harmony' and 'peace', while showing that the Olympic Games were an event for the masses. All people or institutions interested in submitting ideas were welcome to do so, Mr Jiang said. But interested non-Chinese nationals or organisations would have to form consortiums with Chinese citizens or organisations. 'In order to stage a frugal Games, the budget for the two ceremonies will be no more than what was spent in Athens,' Mr Jiang said. 'However, it will still be enough to ensure we can stage two splendid ceremonies to impress the whole world.' The Olympic committee had not received any applications requesting that the mainland and Taiwanese teams enter as one during the opening ceremony, Mr Jiang said in response to a question at a press conference. The opening ceremony is expected to attract 4 billion television viewers globally. The final concepts for Beijing's ceremonies, the most colourful and eye-catching part of any Olympics, are expected to be completed no later than May 2007. The opening ceremony will be held on August 8, 2008, and the closing ceremony on August 24.