Well, thank you very much, President. First of all, Iwant to thank President Gu for having me here, and I want to thank Mr. Qizhi for your kindintroduction. Thank you very much.
It is wonderful to be here at this university. What a special place. I just looked around a little bithere, it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous place. I want to congratulate you for going to this magnificentuniversity here.
Now, the last time I was here in China was five years ago, and then I was promoting my movies.They had a movie festival here, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie Festival. I remember theyshowed all my movies for a week—which was a rarity, may I remind you—and they also showedthe movies on television. But we also were here to promote Special Olympics, which is anorganization that helps people with mental disabilities, so I was here for both reasons.
But this time I’m here as the governor of the great state of California. I’m here representing thepeople of California, and we’re here on a trade mission to see how we can do more businesswith China and to help each other, because both California is a very fast growing state, andChina is a very fast growing country, and there are a lot of things that we can do for oneanother.
But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to come here today and to talk with the youngpeople; as a matter of fact, to the brightest young people of China. And this is why it is sogreat to be here at the Tsinghua University, and I’m honored that I was invited here.
Now, I read a little bit about the history of Tsinghua, and I learned that actually this schooloriginally prepared students to attend universities in America. Now, I also know that since theattack on our World Trade Centers it has become more and more difficult to go to theuniversities in America because you need to fill out all kinds of paperwork now and you have toget visas, and it’s very complicated, and you have to wait a much longer period of time to goover there. But let me tell you, things are improving already. I’ve heard that it’s easing up, therestrictions, and it’s easier to get a visa. My young Chinese friends, I want to tell you that incase no one from America has ever invited you, let me do this right now personally. I want towarmly invite all of you here to come to the United States, and especially to come to California,because that’s the happening place. California is the best place.
Please come and visit us, we will welcome you. I invite you all to come there and to travel, tomeet the American people, and to come there and study in our universities, and some dayhopefully you will come and do business over there, or maybe you’ll want to move over there.Whatever your goal is, you’re always welcome. America, after all, let’s not forget, is the land ofopportunity. And it’s not only the land of opportunity for Austrians like me, but for Chinesepeople as well. Remember that.
I know that beginning with this century, China is also becoming a land of opportunity. It’s afast growing place, and as the students of this great university and the citizens of a risingChina, I think that you have a great future also here in this country. And today I want to talk toyou a little bit about the dreams, about the dreams of your future, and dreams for this country.I want to talk to you a little bit about dreams, because it seems to me that I’m somewhat of anexpert in dreams, because I had a lot of my dreams become a reality. So let me just briefly tellyou my story, and tell you a little bit about how I started with my career. I think that this storykind of relates a little bit also to you, and also to China.
I started way back as a weightlifter. I always liked the idea of lifting weights and being abodybuilder. From the first moment when I gripped a barbell and held it around the bar andlifted the steel up over my head, I felt this exhilaration, and I knew then that this is somethingthat I’m going to do; that I was in love with that, and this is going to be something that I’mgoing to do. I’m going to pursue the sport of weightlifting and bodybuilding.
Now, I remember the first real workout that I had. Eight miles away from my home village inAustria there was a gymnasium, and I rode to that gymnasium with a bicycle. And there Itrained for half an hour, because they said that after half an hour you should stop becauseotherwise your body will get really sore. But after half an hour I looked at my body, and nothinghad happened. So I said, "I’d better work out for another half hour." So I lifted some more. Mystrength didn’t improve, I didn’t see the muscles pop out or anything like that, so I trained foranother half an hour. And then after another half hour I trained another half hour, and alltogether I trained two and a half hours.
Well, let me tell you something. After two and a half hours—even though they told me that Ishouldn’t train that much or I would get really sore—I left the gymnasium, I rode my bicyclehome. And after the first mile I got numb, and I couldn’t feel anymore the handle of thebicycle, and I fell off the bike and I fell into the ditch on the side of the road. So I got up againand I tried it again. Another few yards, I fell off the bicycle again. And I tried it three, four moretimes, and I just couldn’t ride my bicycle because my body was so numb and my legs felt likenoodles.
Well, let me tell you something. The next morning when I got up, my body was so sore that Icouldn’t even lift my arms to comb my hair. I had to have my mother comb my hair, and youknow how embarrassing that is. But you know something? I learned a very important lesson,that pain means progress. Pain is progress. Each time my muscles were sore from a workout Iknew that they were growing and they were getting stronger.
I think there is a real life lesson in that. After two or three years of discipline anddetermination and working out hard, I actually changed my body, and I changed my strength.And that told me something; that if I could change my body that much, and if I could changethe strength of my body that much, then I could also change anything else. I could change myhabits, I could change my intelligence, I could change my attitude, my mind, my future, my life.And this is exactly what I have done. I think that that lesson applies to people, and it alsoapplies to countries. You can change, China can change, everyone in the world can change.
My parents, of course, I have to tell you, didn’t understand my dreams at all. They were alwayswondering, they said, "What is he doing? When are you going to get a job, a real job? Whenare you going to make money?" And all of those questions I got. And they said, "I hope wedidn’t raise a bum, someone that doesn’t make money and just wants to live in a gymnasiumand think about their bodies." Well, I endured all of this negative thinking, and the morenegative the thinking got, and the more negative the questions got, the stronger and themore positive I became, the stronger I became inside.
So of course some of your families maybe think the same way, and this is why I’m mentioningthat. Some of your families maybe don’t believe in your dreams. But let me tell you something,my young friends. Keep your dreams. No matter what, keep your dreams. Don’t give up onthem, even when you are temporarily defeated or denied. Keep your dreams.
I remember the first time I went to the United States and I was competing in a competition,the World Championships in Bodybuilding. I lost. I came in second, and I was devastated. Iwas crushed. I felt like a loser, a major loser, let me tell you. I cried, as a matter of fact,because I felt like I disappointed my friends and I disappointed myself. But the next day I gotmy act together, I shifted gears, and I said, "I’m going to learn from that lesson. I’m going tostay here in America. I’m not going to go back to Europe. I’m going to stay in America and I’mgoing to train with the American champions, I’m going to train the American way. I’m going toeat the American food, I’m going to train with the American machines and the principles. And ayear later, in America, I became the World Champion in Bodybuilding. So I think this is a very,very important lesson.
And from then on, I continued. My career took off, and everything that I wanted to do Iaccomplished. First it was to become a champion in bodybuilding. Later on I became a moviestar, to do all the great movies, the Conan movies and the Terminator movies and all this. ThenI became the governor of the great state of California, of the sixth largest economy in theworld. All of this happened because of my dreams, even though other people told me thatthose dreams were bogus and they were crazy, but I held onto my dreams.
And people would always say, no matter what, even in bodybuilding they said I would nevermake it. And later on in the movies, in Hollywood they said I would not make it. They said, "Youwill never make it. You have a German accent. No one in Hollywood has ever made it with aGerman accent. Yeah, maybe you can play some Nazi roles or something like that, but youcannot become a leading star with an accent. Plus your body, you’re overdeveloped, you haveall these muscles. They did Hercules movies 20 years ago, that’s outdated. Now it’s WoodyAllen. Woody Allen is in, his body is in." And those were the messages. "And Al Pacino, theskinny guy, he is in. But not your body, it’s too big. And your name, Schwarzenegger, it willnever fit on a movie poster. Forget it. Forget it, you will never make it. Go back tobodybuilding."
Well, the rest is history. After Terminator 3, I became the highest paid movie star in Hollywood.And let me tell you something, it continued on. Even when I ran for governor people said, "Arnold, you will never make it. You will never become governor of California. What do you knowabout government?" Well, the fact is, I knew exactly as much about government as the rest ofthe people knew in California, which is that government is out of touch, and it’s out of sync withthe people, and it needed a shakeup. So I didn’t listen to all those people that said I wouldnever make it. I continued campaigning, I listened to my dreams, and the rest also is history. Ibecame governor.
So always it just carried me on, those dreams. So bodybuilding gave me the confidence,movies gave me the money, and pubic service and being a governor gave me a purpose largerthan myself. And that is the brief story of my dreams and a brief story of my early life, and howmy dreams made me successful.
A person, of course, should not be stingy with their dreams. So I, of course, don’t just thinkand dream about myself, but I also have dreams for you, and dreams for China. So let me justtalk a little bit about that. China’s economy has become an engine of human progress, liftingmillions of people out of poverty. This is a moral and economic good for China and for the restof the world. I often read that China’s economy is likely to become the largest in the world overthe next 50 years, and I think this is terrific. This does not mean, of course, that America willget poorer; it just means that China will get richer, and the United States will benefit fromChina’s progress as much as the U.S. benefited from the rise of Western Europe after WorldWar II.
Some in my country fear that China’s research and development will overtake America’s, but Ibelieve that America and the world will benefit from China’s scientific and technologicaladvances. I think we will benefit from that. If China makes advances in stem cell research, therest of the world will benefit from that. If China discovers an energy breakthrough, this isgood for the rest of the world, such as the benefit of a free market.
Some fear that China will buy up American companies, but that fear also existed in the ‘80s,when America feared that Japan was going to buy up American companies. So what? It was justgood, and to the benefit of America. We should welcome China’s investment in Americancompanies, just as we welcome the billions of dollars that China has invested in U.S. treasurybonds. This shows that China has faith in America, and American investment in China showsthat we have faith in you. So I believe that China and U.S. economic relations will become evencloser in the years ahead. Certainly I realize that we do not agree on everything, but who does?Certainly I realize that China has major hurdles to overcome, but it is not for me to say howChina should overcome those hurdles and achieve its dreams.
But I can tell you, however, what has given America such energy and strength over the last 200years, and perhaps there are some insights in this for China. America is a nation that believes inthe power of the individual, and what the individual can accomplish, no matter the color, nomatter the religion, no matter the ethnic background of the individual.
Recently, as you probably have read, Rosa Parks, a former seamstress married to a barber,married to a hairdresser, died, and she lay in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol inWashington. People from around America came to say farewell to her and to thank her forchanging our history and for changing our society. Now, what did this 92 year-old black womando that deserved such great honor? What did she do? Well, in 1955, the days of racialsegregation, she had refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. She had refused.Her simple refusal to move to the back of the bus put into motion events that led to mycountry’s great civil rights movement. The small protest of a woman that maybe weighed lessthan 100 lbs. brought down a racist system. As you can see, the individual can make adifference.
Let me tell you about another individual, Ken Behring, a millionaire California businessman whofound his passion in giving wheelchairs to poor and physically disabled people all around theglobe, including China. He says that he has met people who have spent years in rooms with nowindow, just lying there and staring up at the ceiling, never seeing the outside world unlesssomeone was willing to pick up that person and take them outside to show them the world. Hesays that it’s no wonder so many of those physically disabled people dream about being a bird.Mr. Behring says that most of us think that a wheelchair would be a confinement, but tomillions of people it is not a confinement, it is freedom, freedom to move and to go to school,freedom to vote, freedom to get a job, and freedom for hope for the future. He has givenfreedom and wheelchairs to 400,000 people around the world. The individual can make adifference.
My mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver—I always like to mention her, because it gets me onthe good side of her—she, for instance, started an organization called Special Olympics. Shestared Special Olympics which is for people with mental disabilities. And of course when shestarted that organization she was told by the experts, "Don’t do it. You cannot take peoplewith mental disabilities out of mental institutions and have them participate in sports events.They will drown in the swimming pools. They will kill each other out there, they will hurt eachother. Don’t do it." But Eunice Kennedy Shriver had a dream and a passion, and today millionsof people compete in Special Olympics around the world, including right here in China. This iswhy I was here five years ago. Five years ago you had 50,000 participants in the SpecialOlympics. Today, five years later, you have 500,000 participants in Special Olympics. 500,000people are getting a chance to participate in sports programs, getting a chance to have healthcare, have a chance to be treated equally, with respect and with tolerance. So Eunice KennedyShriver exemplifies that the individual can make a difference.
And I think what I’m trying to say to you is that each and every one of you can make adifference. So as you study and as you become smarter, and as you become richer, think aboutthat, that there are millions of people that need your help. Now, you maybe ask yourself thequestion, what can I do? Well, let me tell you. Even though you maybe have no money oranything, you can go out and help a child that has not yet learned yet how to read. You maybecan go out and help a person that is physically handicapped, to lift them up and to take themoutside so they can see the world. There are so many different things that you can do. Youmaybe can take a person that is mentally disabled, to take them to a soccer game. There are allkinds of things that the individual can do to reach out and to help.
Imagine what could be accomplished if the dreams of China’s 1.3 billion individuals could beunleashed. Imagine what could happen. Each of you here has the power of the individual withinyou, you have the power of your dreams within you, and these are tremendous powers. You’reyoung, you’re educated, and you are the very best China has to offer. My young Chinesefriends, I believe in your dreams. I believe that you can achieve them, and I believe you canmake a difference, a big difference. All you have to do is just make the commitment. All youhave to do is create the action and commit, and say, "Let’s do it." Go out and do it. I’m askingyou. Do it for yourself, do it for China, and do it for the good of the world. Thank you verymuch for listening. Thank you.