International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven was on hand at Beijing's National Stadium to officially begin the Games along with nearly 100,000 spectators, Xinhua reported.
China's state-run news agency said the opening ceremony came complete with fireworks and a host of children wearing colorful costumes.
More than 4,000 disabled athletes from 147 countries and regions will compete in a total of 472 events during the sporting event's run through Sept. 17.
Xinhua said the record number of athletes in the 20 chosen sports were on hand during Saturday's ceremony, along with top international leaders such as Chinese President Hu Jintao, German President Horst Koehler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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