2008 Summer Olympics torch relay

2008 Summer Olympics torch relay

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The 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay was run from March 24 until August 8, 2008, prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

, with the theme of "one world, one dream". Plans for the relay were announced on April 26, 2007, in Beijing, China. The relay, also called by the organizers as the "Journey of Harmony", lasted 129 days and carried the torch 137000 km (85,128.1 mi) – the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay since the tradition was started ahead of the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

.

After being lit at the birthplace of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

 on March 24, the torch traveled to the Panathinaiko Stadium
Panathinaiko Stadium
The Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium , also known as the Kallimarmaro , is an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31. From Beijing, the torch was following a route passing through six continents. The torch has visited cities along the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. The relay also included an ascent with the flame to the top of Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

 on the border of Nepal and Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

, China from the Chinese side, which was closed specially for the event.

In many cities along the North American and European route, the torch relay was protested by advocates of Tibetan independence, animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

, and legal online gambling
Online gambling
Online gambling, also known as Internet gambling and iGambling, is a general term for gambling using the Internet.-Online poker:Online poker tables commonly offer Texas hold 'em, Omaha, Seven-card stud, razz, HORSE and other game types in both tournament and ring game structures...

, and people protesting against China's human rights record
Human Rights in China
Human Rights in China is a New York-based international, Chinese, non-governmental organization with a mission to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People's Republic of China....

, resulting in confrontations at a few of the relay locations. These protests, which ranged from hundreds of people in San Francisco, to effectively none in Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

, have forced the path of the torch relay to be changed or shortened on a number of occasions. The torch was extinguished by Chinese security officials several times during the Paris leg for security reasons, and once in protest in Paris.

The attacks on the torch in London and Paris were described as "despicable" by the Chinese government
Government of the People's Republic of China
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...

, condemning them as "deliberate disruptions... who gave no thought to the Olympic spirit or the laws of Britain and France" and who "tarnish the lofty Olympic spirit", and vowed they would continue with the relay and not allow the protests to "impede the Olympic spirit". Large-scale counter-protests by overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 and foreign-based Chinese national
Chinese nationality
Chinese nationality may refer to the nationality or the right to carry a passport of a number of areas:* Nationality Law of the Republic of China, the law which defines who is or may become a ROC national....

s became prevalent in later segments of the relay. In San Francisco, the number of supporters were much more than the number of protesters, and in Australia, Japan, South Korea, the counter-protesters overwhelmed the protesters. A couple of skirmishes between the protesters and supporters were reported. No major protests were visible in the Latin America, Africa, and Western Asia legs of the torch relay.

Prompted by the chaotic torch relays in Western Europe and North America, the president of the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

, Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge, Count Rogge , is a Belgian sports bureaucrat. He is the eighth and current President of the International Olympic Committee .-Life and career:...

 described the situation as a "crisis" for the organization and stated that any athletes displaying Tibetan flags
Flag of Tibet
The Tibetan flag, also known as the 'snow lion flag' and the 'Free Tibet flag', was a flag of the military of Tibet, introduced by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1912 and used in the same capacity until 1959. Designed with the help of a Japanese, it reflects the design motif of Japanese military's Rising...

 at Olympic venues could be expelled from the games. though he stopped short of cancelling the relay altogether despite calls to do so by some IOC members The outcome of the relay will likely influence the IOC's decision on whether or not to scrap global relays in future editions of the games.

In June 2008, the Beijing Games' Organizing Committee announced that the planned international torch relay for the Paralympic Games
2008 Summer Paralympics
The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games, the thirteenth Paralympics, took place in Beijing, China from September 6 to September 17, 2008. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, equestrian events were held in Hong Kong and sailing events in Qingdao....

 had been cancelled. The Committee stated that the relay was being cancelled to enable the Chinese government to "focus on the rescue and relief work" following the Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

.

Torch




The Olympic Torch is based on traditional scrolls and uses a traditional Chinese design known as "Lucky Cloud". It is made from aluminum. It is 72 centimetres high and weighs 985 grams. The torch is designed to remain lit in 65 kilometre per hour (37 mile per hour) winds, and in rain of up to 50 millimetres (2 inches) per hour. An ignition key is used to ignite and extinguish the flame. The torch is fueled by cans of propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

. Each can will light the torch for 15 minutes. It is designed by a team from Lenovo Group
Lenovo Group
Lenovo Group Limited is a Chinese multinational personal technology company that develops, manufactures and markets desktop and notebook computers, workstations, servers, storage drives, IT management software, and other related products and services. Lenovo was incorporated in Hong Kong in 1988...

. The Torch is designed in reference to the traditional Chinese concept of the 5 elements that make up the entire universe.

Lanterns


The Olympic Flame is supposed to remain lit for the whole relay. When the Torch is extinguished at night, on airplanes, in bad weather, or during protests (such as the several occasions in Paris), the Olympic Flame is kept alight in a set of 8 lanterns.

Aircraft


Internationally, the torch and its accompanying party traveled in a chartered Air China
Air China
Air China is the flag carrier and one of the major airlines of the People's Republic of China. Based in Beijing Capital International Airport, Air China is the world's 10th largest airline by fleet size. The airline ranked behind its main competitors China Southern Airlines and China Eastern...

 Airbus A330
Airbus A330
The Airbus A330 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS. Versions of the A330 have a range of and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry of cargo....

 (registered B-6075), painted in the red and yellow colors of the Olympic Games. Air China was chosen by the Beijing Committees of the Olympic Game as the designated Olympic torch carrier in March 2008 for its long-standing participation in the Olympic cause. The plane traveled a total of 85077 mi (136,917.8 km) for a duration of 130 days through 21 countries and regions.

Route




The route carried the torch through six continents from March 2008 to May 2008 to August 2008. The planned route originally included a stop in Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 between Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 and Hong Kong, but there was disagreement in Beijing and Taipei over language used to describe whether it was an international or a domestic part of the route. While the Olympic committees of China and Chinese Taipei reached initial consensus on the approach, the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan intervened, stating that this placement could be interpreted as placing Taiwan on the same level as Hong Kong and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, an implication it objected to. The Beijing Organizing Committee attempted to continue negotiation, but further disputes arose over the flag
Flag of the Republic of China
The Flag of the Republic of China is red with a navy blue canton bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays. In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth to reflect its attributes....

 or the anthem
National Anthem of the Republic of China
"National Anthem of the Republic of China" is the current national anthem of the Republic of China .The Republic of China was recognized as the government of mainland China prior to 1949. Since then the Republic of China has controlled Taiwan and some other nearby islands...

 of the Republic of China along the 24 km torch route in Taiwan. By the midnight deadline for concluding the negotiation on September 21, 2007, Taiwan and China were unable to come to terms with the issue of the Torch Relay. In the end, both sides of the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait
The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, is a 180-km-wide strait separating Mainland China and Taiwan. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast...

 decided to eliminate the Taipei leg.

International leg


: On March 24, 2008, the Olympic Flame
Olympic Flame
The Olympic Flame or Olympic Torch is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928...

 was ignited at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

, Greece, site of the Ancient Olympics. The actress Maria Nafpliotou
Maria Nafpliotou
Maria Nafpliotou is a Greek actress.She was born and raised in Athens, where she still resides. She took up dancing while at school. She initially started her dancing lessons at the Rodopi Kouvari Dancing School but continued her studies at the Rallou Manou Professional Dancing School, whence she...

, in the role of a High Priestess, ignited the torch of the first torchbearer, a silver medalist of the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

 in taekwondo
Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 Alexandros Nikolaidis
Alexandros Nikolaidis
Alexandros Nikolaidis is an Olympic taekwondo athlete from Greece. Initially the favorite, he eventually won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics held in Athens after losing from his opponent and eventual gold medalist, Moon Dae-Sung of South Korea.On March 24, 2008 Alexandros Nikolaidis had the...

 from Greece, who handed the flame over to the second torchbearer, Olympic champion in women's breaststroke
Breaststroke
The breaststroke is a swimming style in which the swimmer is on his or her chest and the torso does not rotate. It is the most popular recreational style due to its stability and the ability to keep the head out of the water a large portion of the time. In most swimming classes, beginners learn...

 Luo Xuejuan
Luo Xuejuan
Luo Xuejuan is a female Chinese swimmer, who competed mostly in the breaststroke. She is a former World Record holder in swimming, and in some meet results she is listed as "LUO Xue Juan".-Career:...

 from China.
Following the recent unrest in Tibet
2008 Tibetan unrest
The 2008 Tibetan unrest, also known from its Chinese name as the 3•14 Riots, was a series of riots, protests, and demonstrations that started in Tibetan regional capital of Lhasa and spread to other Tibetan areas and a number of monasteries including outside the Tibet Autonomous Region...

, three members of Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

, including Robert Ménard
Robert Ménard
Robert Ménard is one of the founders and the former secretary-general of the Paris-based international NGO Reporters Sans Frontières....

, breached security and attempted to disrupt a speech by Liu Qi, the head of Beijing's Olympic organising committee during the torch lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

. The People's Republic of China called this a "disgraceful" attempt to sabotage the Olympics. On March 30, 2008 in Athens, during ceremonies marking the handing over of the torch from Greek officials to organizers of the Beijing games, demonstrators shouted 'Free Tibet' and unfurled banners; some 10 of the 15 protesters were taken into police detention. After the hand-off, protests continued internationally, with particularly violent confrontations with police in Nepal.



 People's Republic of China China: In China, the torch was first welcomed by Chinese legal chief Zhou Yongkang
Zhou Yongkang
Zhou Yongkang is a senior leader of the Communist Party of China who is currently serving as the 9th ranked member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and the head of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, an organ directing central government legal policy and the legislative...

 and State Councilor Liu Yandong
Liu Yandong
Liu Yandong is an official of the Communist Party of China currently serving on the Politburo. She also holds the post of State Councilor...

. It was subsequently passed onto China's President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

. A call to boycott French hypermart Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 from May 1 began spreading through mobile text messaging
Text messaging
Text messaging, or texting, refers to the exchange of brief written text messages between fixed-line phone or mobile phone and fixed or portable devices over a network...

 and online chat rooms amongst the Chinese over the weekend from April 12, accusing the company's major shareholder, the LVMH
LVMH
LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A., better known as LVMH, is a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris, Île-de-France, France. The company was formed after the 1987 merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Moët Hennessy, a company formed after the 1971 merger...

 Group, of donating funds to the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

. There were also calls to extend the boycott to include French luxury goods and cosmetic products. According to the Washington Times on April 15, however, the Chinese government was attempting to "calm the situation" through censorship: "All comments posted on popular Internet forum Sohu.com
Sohu
Sohu.com, Inc. is a search engine company headquartered in the Sohu.com Internet Plaza in Haidian District, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. This company and its subsidiaries offer advertising, a search engine, on-line multiplayer gaming and other services. For the fiscal year ended December...

 relating to a boycott of Carrefour have been deleted." Chinese protesters organized boycotts of the French-owned retail chain Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 in major Chinese cities including Kunming
Kunming
' is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. It was known as Yunnan-Fou until the 1920s. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government...

, Hefei
Hefei
Hefei is the capital and largest city of Anhui Province in Eastern China. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, and cultural centre of Anhui...

 and Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

, accusing the French nation of pro-secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

ist conspiracy and anti-Chinese racism. Some burned French flags, some added Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

's Swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

to the French flag, and spread short online messages calling for large protests in front of French consulates and embassy. The Carrefour boycott was met with anti-boycott demonstrators who insisted on entering one of the Carrefour stores in Kunming, only to be blocked by boycotters wielding large Chinese flags
Flag of the People's Republic of China
The flag of the People's Republic of China is a red field charged in the canton with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly...

 and hit by water bottles. The BBC reported that hundreds of people demonstrated in Beijing, Wuhan, Hefei, Kunming and Qingdao
Qingdao
' also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.It borders Yantai to the...

.

In response to the demonstrations, an editorial in the People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

urged Chinese people to "express [their] patriotic enthusiasm calmly and rationally, and express patriotic aspiration in an orderly and legal manner".


 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan: The first torchbearer in Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

, where the Olympic torch arrived for the first time ever on April 2, was the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev. The route ran 20 km from Medeo
Medeo
The Medeu , or Medeo , is an outdoor speed skating and bandy rink. It is located in a mountain valley on the south-eastern outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Medeu sits 1,691 metres above sea level, making it the highest skating rink in the world...

 stadium to Astana Square. There were reports that Uighur activists were arrested and some were deported back to China.



 Turkey Turkey: The torch relay leg in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, held on April 3, started on Sultanahmet Square and finished in Taksim Square
Taksim Square
Taksim Square situated in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major shopping, tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network...

. Uyghurs
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 living in Turkey protested at Chinese treatment
2008 Uyghur unrest
The 2008 Uyghur unrest is a loose name for incidents of communal violence by Uyghur people in Hotan and Qaraqash county of Western China, with incidents in March, April, and August 2008...

 of their compatriots
East Turkestan independence movement
The East Turkestan independence movement is a broad term that refers to advocates of an independent, self-governing East Turkestan in the region now known as Xinjiang, an autonomous region in the People's Republic of China.-Historical background:...

 living in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

. Several protesters who tried to disrupt the relay were promptly arrested by the police.



 Russia Russia: On April 5 the Olympic torch arrived at Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia. The length of the torch relay route in the city was 20 km, with the start at the Victory Square
Victory Square, Saint Petersburg
Victory Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is named after the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War. It is located in the very end of Moskovsky Prospekt near Pulkovo Airport – not in the central part of the city, despite this name being common in the former Soviet cities as a central...

 and finish at the Palace Square
Palace Square
Palace Square , connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire...

. Mixed martial arts
Mixed martial arts
Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, judo and other styles. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be...

 icon and former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko) is a Russian heavyweight mixed martial artist. He has won numerous tournaments and accolades in multiple sports, most notably the Pride 2004 Grand Prix and the World Combat Sambo championship on four occasions, as well as medaling in the Russian national Judo...

 was one the torch bearers. This gives him the distinction of the being the first active MMA
Mixed martial arts
Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, judo and other styles. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be...

 fighter to carry the Olympic flame.


 United Kingdom Great Britain: The torch relay leg held in London, the host city of the 2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

, on April 6 began at Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium
The original Wembley Stadium, officially known as the Empire Stadium, was a football stadium in Wembley, a suburb of north-west London, standing on the site now occupied by the new Wembley Stadium that opened in 2007...

, passed through the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

, and eventually ended at O2 Arena
The O2 arena (London)
The O2 Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in the centre of The O2, a large entertainment complex on the Greenwich peninsula in London, England.With a capacity of up to 20,000 depending on the event, it is second largest...

 in the eastern part of the city. The 48 km (29.8 mi) leg took a total of seven and a half hours to complete, and attracted protests by pro-Tibetan independence and pro-Human Rights supporters, prompting changes to the planned route and an unscheduled move onto a bus which then briefly halted by protestors. Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 Jacqui Smith
Jacqui Smith
Jacqueline Jill "Jacqui" Smith is a member of the British Labour Party. She served as the Member of Parliament for Redditch from 1997 until 2010 and was the first ever female Home Secretary, thus making her the third woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State — after Margaret Thatcher and...

 has officially complained to Beijing Organising Committee
Chinese Olympic Committee
Chinese Olympic Committee represents the People's Republic of China in international affairs related to the Olympic Movement.-Timeline concerning Olympic recognition:...

 about the conduct of the tracksuit-clad Chinese security guards. The Chinese officials, seen manhandling protesters, were described by both the London Mayor Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party...

 and Lord Coe, chairman of the London Olympic Committee
London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is a limited company, owned by the Government of the United Kingdom, that will oversee the planning and development of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. After the successful London 2012 Olympic bid, LOCOG was...

 as "thugs". A Metropolitan police
Metropolitan police
Metropolitan Police is a generic title for the municipal police force for a major metropolitan area, and it may be part of the official title of the force...

 briefing paper revealed that security for the torch relay cost £750,000 and the participation of the Chinese security team had been agreed in advance, despite the Mayor stating, "We did not know beforehand these thugs were from the security services. Had I known so, we would have said no."

Of the 80 torch-bearers in London, Sir Steve Redgrave
Steve Redgrave
Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave CBE is an English rower who won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000. He has also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine World Rowing Championships gold medals...

, who started the relay, mentioned to the media that he had received e-mailed pleas to boycott the event and could "see why they would like to make an issue" of it. Francesca Martinez
Francesca Martinez
Francesca Martinez is an English stand-up comedienne and actress. She has toured internationally, including sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal...

 and Richard Vaughan
Richard Vaughan (badminton)
Richard Vaughan is a Welsh badminton player from Llanbradach, Caerphilly, Wales. Vaughan is currently the Chief Executive of Badminton Ireland and has a MBA from Leicester University; MA Sports Development from Bath University, having previously achieved a BSc in Economics and Politics.Vaughan...

 refused to carry the torch, while Konnie Huq
Konnie Huq
Kanak Asha "Konnie" Huq is a British television presenter, who is best known for being the longest-serving female presenter of Blue Peter, having presented it from 1 December 1997 until 23 January 2008...

 decided to carry it and also speak out against China. The pro-Tibetan Member of Parliament Norman Baker
Norman Baker
Norman John Baker is a British Liberal Democrat politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Lewes in East Sussex since 1997. Since May 2010 he has been Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport....

 asked all bearers to reconsider. Amid pressure from both directions, Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 welcomed the torch outside 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister....

 without holding or touching it.
The London relay saw the torch surrounded by what the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 described as "a mobile protective ring." Protests began as soon as Redgrave started the event, leading to at least thirty-five arrests. In Ladbroke Grove a demonstrator attempted to snatch the torch from Konnie Huq
Konnie Huq
Kanak Asha "Konnie" Huq is a British television presenter, who is best known for being the longest-serving female presenter of Blue Peter, having presented it from 1 December 1997 until 23 January 2008...

 in a momentary struggle, and in a separate incident, a fire extinguisher was set off near the torch. The Chinese ambassador carried the torch through Chinatown
Chinatown, London
The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is part of the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street...

 after an unpublicized change to the route amid security concerns. The torch made an unscheduled move onto a bus along Fleet Street
Fleet Street
Fleet Street is a street in central London, United Kingdom, named after the River Fleet, a stream that now flows underground. It was the home of the British press until the 1980s...

 amid security concerns and efforts to evade the protesters.
In an effort to counter the pro-Tibet protesters and show their support for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, more than 2,000 Chinese also gathered on the torch route and demonstrated with signs, banners and Chinese flags. A large number of supporters were concentrated in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

, displaying the Olympic slogan "One World, One Dream".



 France France: The torch relay leg in Paris, held on April 7, began on the first level of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

 and finished at the Stade Charléty. The relay was initially supposed to cover 28 km, but it was shortened at the demand of Chinese officials following widespread protests by pro-Tibet and human rights activists, who repeatedly attempted to disrupt, hinder or halt the procession. A scheduled ceremony at the town hall was cancelled at the request of the Chinese authorities, and, also at the request of Chinese authorities, the torch finished the relay by bus instead of being carried by athletes.
Paris City officials had announced plans to greet the Olympic flame with peaceful protest when the torch was to reach the French capital. The city government attached a banner reading "Paris defends human rights throughout the world" to the City Hall
Hôtel de Ville, Paris
The Hôtel de Ville |City Hall]]) in :Paris, France, is the building housing the City of Paris's administration. Standing on the place de l'Hôtel de Ville in the city's IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357...

, in an attempt to promote values "of all humanity and of human rights." Members from Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 turned out in large numbers to protest. An estimated 3,000 French police protected the Olympic torch relay as it departed from the Eiffel Tower and criss-crossed Paris amid threat of protests. Widespread pro-Tibet protests, including an attempt by more than one demonstrator to extinguish the flame with water or fire extinguishers, prompted relay authorities to put out the flame five times (according to the police authorities in Paris) and load the torch onto a bus, at the demand of Chinese officials. This was later denied by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, despite video footage broadcast by French television network France 2
France 2
France 2 is a French public national television channel. It is part of the state-owned France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 4, France 5 and France Ô...

 which showed Chinese flame attendants extinguishing the torch. Backup flames are with the relay at all times to relight the torch. French judoka and torchbearer David Douillet
David Douillet
David Douillet is a French judoka and politician.Douillet was born in the city of Rouen. Standing at 1.90 meters and weighing 125 kilograms , he won the judo heavyweight gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Sydney. He also gained four world titles and a European crown...

 expressed his annoyance at the Chinese flame attendants who extinguished the torch which he was about to hand over to Teddy Riner
Teddy Riner
Teddy Riner is a French judoka. He's and and has been given the nickames Teddy Bear and Teddy Winner. At 18 years and 5 months Teddy Riner became the youngest world champion of the history of his sport. To date, he holds an unmatched record of six world titles obtained in the +100kg, Men's Team...

: "I understand they're afraid of everything, but this is just annoying. They extinguished the flame despite the fact that there was no risk, and they could see it and they knew it. I don't know why they did it."

Chinese officials canceled the torch relay ceremony amidst disruptions, including a Tibetan flag flown from a window in the City Hall by Green Party officials.
The third torchbearer in the Paris leg, Jin Jing
Jin Jing
Jin Jing is a Chinese female Paralympic fencer. She was a torchbearer carrying the Olympic torch amid political protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Paris, France...

, who was disabled and carried the torch on a wheelchair, was assaulted several times by unidentified protestors seemingly from the pro-Tibet independent camp. In interviews, Jin Jing said that she was "tugged at, scratched" and "kicked", but that she "did not feel the pain at the time." She received praise from ethnic Chinese worldwide as "Angel in Wheelchair". The Chinese government gave the comment that "the Chinese respect France a lot" but "Paris [has slapped] its own face."
The official of French government quickly visited her and showed regret for what happened to her.

Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 organised several symbolic protests, including scaling the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

 to hang a protest banner from it, and hanging an identical banner from the Notre Dame cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

.

Several hundred pro-Tibet protesters gathered at the Trocadéro
Trocadéro
The Trocadéro, , site of the Palais de Chaillot, , is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of Chaillot, a former village.- Origin of the name :...

 with banners and Tibetan flags, and remained there for a peaceful protest, never approaching the torch relay itself. Among them was Jane Birkin
Jane Birkin
Jane Mallory Birkin, OBE is an English-born actress and singer who lives in France. In recent years she has written her own album, directed a film and become an outspoken proponent of democracy in Burma.- Early life :...

, who spoke to the media about the "lack of freedom of speech" in China. Also present was Thupten Gyatso, President of the French Tibetan community, who called upon pro-Tibet demonstrators to "remain calm, non-violent, peaceful".

French members of Parliament and other French politicians also organised a protest. All political parties in Parliament—UMP
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

, Socialists
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

, New Centre
New Centre
New Centre , also known as the European Social Liberal Party is a centre-right political party in France, formed by the members of the Union for French Democracy – including a majority of former parliamentarians – who did not agree with François Bayrou's...

, Communists
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

, Democratic Movement (centre)
Democratic Movement (France)
The Democratic Movement , MoDem) is a centrist, social liberal and pro-European French political party that was founded by centrist politician François Bayrou to succeed his Union for French Democracy and to contest the 2007 legislative election, after his strong showing in the 2007 presidential...

 and Greens
The Greens (France)
The Greens were a Green political party to the centre-left of the political spectrum in France. They had officially been in existence since 1984, but their spiritual roots could be traced as far back as René Dumont’s candidacy for the presidency in 1974...

—jointly requested a pause in the National Assembly's session, which was granted, so that MPs could step outside and unfurl a banner which read "Respect for Human Rights in China". The coach containing the torch drove past the National Assembly and the assembled protesting MPs, who shouted "Freedom for Tibet!" several times as it passed.

French police were criticised for their handling of the events, and notably for confiscating Tibetan flags from demonstrators. The newspaper Libération
Libération
Libération is a French daily newspaper founded in Paris by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July in 1973 in the wake of the protest movements of May 1968. Originally a leftist newspaper, it has undergone a number of shifts during the 1980s and 1990s...

commented: "The police did so much that only the Chinese were given freedom of expression. The Tibetan flag was forbidden everywhere except on the Trocadéro." Minister of the Interior Michèle Alliot-Marie
Michèle Alliot-Marie
Michèle Jeanne Honorine Alliot-Marie, born 10 September 1946 and nicknamed MAM, is a French politician of the Union for a Popular Movement . A member of all but one right-wing governments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, she was the first woman in France to hold the portfolios of Defense , the...

 later stated that the police had not been ordered to do so, and that they had acted on their own initiative. A cameraman for France 2
France 2
France 2 is a French public national television channel. It is part of the state-owned France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 4, France 5 and France Ô...

 was struck in the face by a police officer, knocked unconscious, and had to be sent to hospital.

 United States United States of America: The torch relay's North American leg occurred in San Francisco, California on April 9. On the day of the relay officials diverted the torch run to an unannounced route. The start was at McCovey Cove
McCovey Cove
McCovey Cove is the unofficial name of a section of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field wall of AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, coined after famed Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. The proper name for the cove is China Basin, which is the mouth of Mission Creek as it meets the...

, where Norman Bellingham of the U.S. Olympic Committee
United States Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various...

 gave the torch to the first torchbearer, Chinese 1992 Olympic champion
China at the 1992 Summer Olympics
The People's Republic of China competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.-Medalists:After the olympics, the name "Five Golden Flowers" was given to the five medalist swimmers Yang Wenyi , Zhuang Yong , Lin Li , Qian Hong and Wang Xiaohong...

 swimmer Lin Li. The planned closing ceremony
Ceremony
A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin.-Ceremonial occasions:A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:* birth...

 at Justin Herman Plaza was cancelled and instead, a ceremony was held at San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

, where the torch was to leave for Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

. The route changes allowed the run to avoid large numbers of China supporters and protesters against China. As people found out there would be no closing ceremony at Justin Herman Plaza, there were angry reactions. One demonstrator was quoted as saying that the route changes were an effort to "thwart any organized protest that had been planned." San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

 President Aaron Peskin
Aaron Peskin
Aaron Peskin is a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was first elected to the Board in 2000, and was re-elected in 2004. In January 2005, his colleagues elected him President of the Board.-Personal life:...

, a critic of Mayor Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician who is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously, he was the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, and was elected in 2003 to succeed Willie Brown, becoming San Francisco's youngest mayor in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007...

, said that it was a "cynical plan to please the Bush State Department and the Chinese government
Government of the People's Republic of China
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...

 because of the incredible influence of money." Newsom, on the other hand, said he felt it was in "everyone's best interest" and that he believed people had been "afforded the right to protest and support the torch" despite the route changes. Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
Peter Victor Ueberroth is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He was recently the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee; he was replaced by Larry Probst in October 2008....

, head of the U.S. Olympic Committee
United States Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various...

, praised the route changes, saying, "The city of San Francisco, from a global perspective, will be applauded." People who saw the torch were surprised and cheered as shown from live video of CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

. The cost to the city for hosting the event was reported to be USD $726,400, nearly half of which has been recovered by private fundraising. Mayor Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician who is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously, he was the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, and was elected in 2003 to succeed Willie Brown, becoming San Francisco's youngest mayor in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007...

 said that "exponential" costs associated with mass arrests were avoided by his decision to change the route in consultation with police chief Heather Fong.

On April 1, 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

 approved a resolution addressing human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 concerns when the Beijing Olympic torch arrives in San Francisco on April 9. The resolution would welcome the torch with "alarm and protest at the failure of China to meet its past solemn promises to the international community, including the citizens of San Francisco, to cease the egregious and ongoing human rights abuses in China and occupied Tibet." On April 8, numerous protests were planned including one at the city's United Nations Plaza led by actor Richard Gere
Richard Gere
Richard Tiffany Gere is an American actor. He began acting in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and a starring role in Days of Heaven. He came to prominence in 1980 for his role in the film American Gigolo, which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol...

 and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

.

Some advocates for Tibet, Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

, and the spiritual practice Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

, planned to protest the April 9 arrival of the torch in San Francisco. China had already requested the torch route in San Francisco be shortened.
On April 7, 2008, two days prior to the actual torch relay, three activists carrying Tibetan flags scaled the suspension cables of the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to...

 to unfurl two banners, one saying "One World, One Dream. Free Tibet", and the other, "Free Tibet '08".
Among them was San Francisco resident Laurel Sutherlin, who spoke to the local TV station KPIX-CBS5
KPIX-TV
KPIX-TV is the CBS owned and operated television station in San Francisco, California. Through its parent company CBS Corporation, KPIX is co-owned with The CW affiliate KBCW-TV ....

 live from a cellphone, urging the International Olympic Committee to ask China not to allow the torch to go through Tibet. "Sutherlin said he was worried that the torch's planned route through Tibet would lead to more arrests and Chinese officials would use force to stifle dissent." The three activists and five supporters face charges related to trespassing, conspiracy and causing a public nuisance.
The torch was lit at a park outside at AT&T Park
AT&T Park
AT&T Park is a ballpark located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, at the corner of Third and King Streets, it has served as the home of the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball since 2000....

 at about 1:17 pm PDT
Pacific Time Zone
The Pacific Time Zone observes standard time by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time . The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the 120th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory. During daylight saving time, its time offset is UTC-7.In the United States...

 (20:17 UTC), briefly held aloft by American and Chinese Olympic officials. The relay descended into confusion as the first runner in the elaborately planned relay disappeared into a warehouse on a waterfront pier where it stayed for a half-an-hour. There were clashes between thousands of pro-China demonstrators, many of whom said they were bused in by the Chinese Consulate and other pro-China groups, and both pro-Tibet and Darfur protesters. The non-Chinese demonstrators were reported to have been swamped and trailed by angry crowds. Around 2 pm PDT (21:00 UTC), the torch resurfaced about two miles (3 km) away from the stadium along Van Ness Avenue
Van Ness Avenue (San Francisco)
Van Ness Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, running from Market St north to the Bay. Originally named Marlette Street, the street was renamed Van Ness Avenue in honor of the city's seventh mayor, James Van Ness. Van Ness Avenue begins at Market Street near the Civic...

, a heavily trafficked thoroughfare that was not on official route plans. Television reports showed the flame flanked by motorcycles and uniformed police officers. Two torchbearers carried the flame running slowly behind a truck and surrounded by Olympic security guards. During the torch relay, two torchbearers, Andrew Michael who rides a wheelchair
Wheelchair
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing...

 and is the Vice President for Sustainable Development
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

 for the Bay Area Council and Director of Partnerships For Change, and an environmental advocate
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

, Majora Carter
Majora Carter
Majora Carter is an economic consultant, public radio host, and environmental justice advocate from the South Bronx area of New York City. Carter founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation Sustainable South Bronx before entering the private sector.-Early life:Carter...

, managed to display Tibetan flags in protest, resulting in their ejection from the relay. The closing ceremony at Justin Herman Plaza was canceled due to the presence of large numbers of protesters at the site. The torch run ended with a final stretch through San Francisco's Marina district and was then moved by bus to San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

 for a makeshift closing ceremony at the terminal, from which the free media was excluded. San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
The San Jose Mercury News is a daily newspaper in San Jose, California. On its web site, however, it calls itself Silicon Valley Mercury News. The paper is owned by MediaNews Group...

described the "deceiving" event as "a game of Where's Waldo, played against the landscape of a lovely city." International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the San Francisco relay had "fortunately" avoided much of the disruptions that marred the legs in London and Paris, but "was, however, not the joyous party that we had wished it to be."

 Argentina Argentina: The torch relay leg in Buenos Aires, Argentina, held on April 11, began with an artistic show at the Lola Mora
Lola Mora
Lola Mora was a sculptor, born in a barn in the , though generally considered native to Trancas, province of Tucumán, where she was recorded and baptized. She is known today as a rebel and a pioneer of women in her artistic field...

 amphitheatre in Costanera Sur
Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve
Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, Reserva Ecológica de Buenos Aires, also known as Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, Reserva Ecológica Costenera Sur, is a tract of low land on the Río de la Plata riverbank located on the east side of the district of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires CBD,...

. In the end of the show the mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri
Mauricio Macri
Mauricio Macri is an Argentine businessman turned politician, and Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. Son of Francisco Macri, a businessman of Italian origin prominent in the industrial and construction sectors, he represented the City of Buenos Aires in the Lower House of...

 gave the torch to the first torchbearer, Carlos Espínola
Carlos Espínola (sailor)
Carlos Mauricio Espínola is an Argentine windsurfer.Nicknamed Camau, Espínola started training at the Club Náutico de La Totora in his home province, to obtain his first achievement of importance, a silver medal, during the Pan American Games held in 1991 in La Habana...

. The leg finished at the Buenos Aires Riding Club in the Palermo district
Palermo, Buenos Aires
Palermo is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. It is located in the northeast of the city, bordering the barrios of Belgrano to the north, Almagro and Recoleta to the south, Villa Crespo and Colegiales to the west and the Río de la Plata river to the east. With a total...

, the last torchbearer being Gabriela Sabatini
Gabriela Sabatini
Gabriela Beatriz Sabatini is a former professional Argentine tennis player. She was one of the leading players on the women's circuit in the late-1980s and early-1990s...

. The 13.8 km route included landmarks like the obelisk
Obelisk of Buenos Aires
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is a national historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. Located in the Plaza de la República, in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio, it was built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city.In order to enrich the...

 and Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo
The Plaza de Mayo is the main square in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is flanked by Hipólito Yrigoyen, Balcarce, Rivadavia and Bolívar streets....

.
The day was marked by several pro-Tibet protests, which included a giant banner reading "Free Tibet", and an alternative "human rights torch" that was lit by protesters and paraded along the route the flame was to take. Most of these protests were peaceful in nature, and the torch was not impeded. Chinese immigrants also turned out in support of the Games, but only minor scuffles were reported between both groups. Runners surrounded by rows of security carried the Olympic flame past thousands of jubilant Argentines in the most trouble-free torch relay in nearly a week. People showered the parade route with confetti as banks, government offices and businesses took an impromptu half-day holiday for the only Latin American stop on the flame's five-continent journey.
Argentine activists told a news conference that they would not try to snuff out the torch's flame as demonstrators had in Paris and London. "I want to announce that we will not put out the Olympic torch," said pro-Tibet activist Jorge Carcavallo. "We'll be carrying out surprise actions throughout the city of Buenos Aires, but all of these will be peaceful." Among other activities, protesters organized an alternative march that went from the Obelisk
Obelisk of Buenos Aires
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is a national historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. Located in the Plaza de la República, in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio, it was built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city.In order to enrich the...

 to the city hall, featuring their own "Human Rights Torch." A giant banner reading "Free Tibet" was also displayed on the torch route. According to a representative from the NGO 'Human Rights Torch Relay', their objective was to "show the contradiction between the Olympic Games and the presence of widespread human rights violations in China"
The outreach director of HRTR, Susan Prager, is also the communication director of "Friends of Falun Gong", a quasi-government non-profit funded by fmr. Congressman Tom Lanto's wife and Ambassador Mark Palmer of NED
NED
Ned may refer to:* Ned , a slang term for a Scottish urban youth who engages in hooliganism* Ned, a 2003 Australian film* Neds, a 2010 British film.* Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, a Nickelodeon TV show...

. A major setback to the event was caused by footballer Diego Maradona, scheduled to open the relay through Buenos Aires, pulling out in an attempt to avoid the Olympic controversy. Trying to avoid the scenes that marred the relay in the UK, France and the US, the city government designed a complex security operative to protect the torch relay, involving 1200 police officers and 3000 other people, including public employees and volunteers. Overall, the protests were peaceful in nature, although there were a few incidents such as the throwing of several water balloons in an attempt to extinguish the Olympic flame, and minor scuffles between Olympic protesters and supporters from Chinese immigrant communities.

 Tanzania Tanzania: Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

 was the torch's only stop in Africa, on April 13. The relay covered 5 km. The torch was lit by Vice-President Ali Mohamed Shein
Ali Mohamed Shein
Dr.Ali Mohamed Shein Currently the 7th President of Zanzibar and the first President ever from Pemba Island . The former Vice President of Tanzania is originally from the island of Pemba. Dr.Shein is a member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party...

. About a thousand people followed the relay, waving the Olympic flag. The only noted instance of protest was Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 laureate
Laureate
In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary or military glory. It is also used for winners of the Nobel Prize.-History:...

 Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya...

's withdrawal from the list of torchbearers, in protest against human rights abuses in Tibet.



 Oman Sultanate of Oman: Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2008, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 1,090,797. The metropolitan area spans approximately and includes six provinces called wilayats...

 was the torch's only stop in the Middle East, on April 14. The relay covered 20 km. No protests or incidents were reported. One of the torchbearer was Syrian actress Sulaf Fawakherji
Sulaf Fawakherji
Sulaf Fawakherji is a prominent Syrian film and TV actress. She has played many roles on Syrian soap operas. Fawakherji studied art and sculpture at Adham Ismail Fine Arts Institute before starring on stage in plays including Al-Sawt and Hekayat al-Shetaa...

.



 Pakistan Pakistan: The Olympic torch reached Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

 for the first time ever on April 16. President Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

 and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani
Yousaf Raza Gillani
Yousuf Raza Gilani is the current prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He was nominated as Prime Minister by the PPP, with the support of its coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League , Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, on 22 March 2008...

 spoke at the opening ceremony of the relay. Security was high, for what one newspaper called the "most sensitive leg" of the torch's Olympic journey. The relay was initially supposed to carry the torch around Islamabad, but the entire relay was cancelled due to security concerns regarding "militant threats or anti-China protests", and replaced by an indoors ceremony with the torch carried around the track of Jinnah Stadium
Jinnah Sports Stadium
Jinnah Sports Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is currently used mostly for football matches. It also has athletics facilities. The stadium has a capacity of 48,800 people....

.
In fear of violent protests and bomb attacks, the torch relay in Pakistan took place in a stadium behind closed doors. Although the relay was behind closed doors, thousands of policemen and soldiers guarded the flame. As a consequence, no incidents arose.



 India India: Due to concerns about pro-Tibet protests, the relay through New Delhi on April 17 was cut to just 2.3 km (less than 1.5 miles), which was shared amongst 70 runners. It concluded at the India Gate
India Gate
The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was built in 1931...

. The event was peaceful due to the public not being allowed at the relay. A total of five intended torchbearers -Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi is an Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service officer. Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman officer in the IPS. Bedi held the post of Director General at the Bureau of Police Research and Development before she voluntarily retired from...

, Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan
- Early life :Khan was born into the erstwhile princely family of Pataudi. She has Muslim Pashtun ancestry through Nawabs of Pataudi lineage from her father's side and Bengali Hindu ancestry from her mother's side...

, Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is an Indian cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and one-day international cricket. He is the only male player to score a double century in the history of ODI cricket...

, Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Manohar "Sunny" Gavaskar is a former cricketer who played during the 1970s and 1980s for Bombay and India. Widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history, Gavaskar set world records during his career for the most Test runs and most Test centuries scored by any...

- withdrew from the event, citing "personal reasons", or, in Bhutia's case, explicitly wishing to "stand by the people of Tibet and their struggle" and protest against the PRC "crackdown" in Tibet. Indian national football
India national football team
The Indian national football team is the national football team of India and is governed by the All India Football Federation. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation. Since 1948, the AIFF has been affiliated with FIFA, the international governing body for football. In 1954, AIFF became...

 captain, Baichung Bhutia
Baichung Bhutia
Baichung Bhutia is an ex Indian footballer. He is currently contracted by the club he owns, United Sikkim. He is considered to be the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena. He plays for United Sikkim FC. He is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills...

 refused to take part in the Indian leg of the torch relay, citing concerns over Tibet. Bhutia, who is Sikkim
Sikkim
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...

ese, is the first athlete to refuse to run with the torch. Indian film star
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan
Aamir Hussain Khan is an Indian film actor, director and producer who has established himself as one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema....

 states on his personal blog that the "Olympic Games do not belong to China" and confirms taking part in the torch relay "with a prayer in his heart for the people of Tibet, and ... for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations". Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi is an Indian politician and member of the parliament of India, representing the Amethi constituency. His political party is the Indian National Congress.-Early life and career:...

, son of the Congress President
Congress President
The President of the All India Congress Committee, and therefore of the Indian National Congress Party as a whole, is known as the Congress President.-History:...

 Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi is an Italian-born Indian politician and the President of the Indian National Congress, one of the major political parties of India. She is the widow of former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi...

 and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family
Nehru-Gandhi family
The Nehru–Gandhi family or Nehru - Feroze Gandhi family is an Indian political family which has been dominant in the Indian National Congress for most of India's history since independence...

, also refused to carry the torch.

Wary of protests, the Indian authorities have decided to shorten the route of the relay in New Delhi, and have given it the security normally associated with Republic Day
Republic Day
Republic Day is the name of a holiday in several countries to commemorate the day when they became republics.-1 January in the Republic of Slovakia:This was the day of creation of the Republic of Slovakia. A national holiday since 1993...

 celebrations, which are considered terrorist targets.
Chinese intelligence's expectations of points on the relay route that would be particularly 'vulnerable' to protesters were presented to the Indian ambassador to Beijing, Nirupama Sen. The Indian media responded angrily to the news that the ambassador, a distinguished lady diplomat, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry at 2 am local time; the news was later denied by anonymous sources in Delhi. The Indian media reported that India's Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath
Kamal Nath
Kamal Nath is an Indian politician and the current Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development. He is a member of the 15th Lok Sabha of India. He represents the Chhindwara constituency of Madhya Pradesh and is a member of the Indian National Congress .-Early life:Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He...

, cancelled an official trip to Beijing in protest, though both Nath and Chinese sources have denied it.

India strongly rejected Chinese demands, however, that the torch route be "sanitised" of India's 150,000-strong Tibetan exile community, by which they required a ban on congregation near the curtailed 3 km route. In response Indian officials said India was a democracy, and "a wholesale ban on protests was out of the question".
Contradicting some other reports, Indian officials also refused permission to the "Olympic Holy Flame Protection Unit". The combined effect is a "rapid deterioration" of relations between India and China. Meanwhile, the Tibetan government in exile
Central Tibetan Administration
The Central Tibetan Administration , is an organisation based in India with the stated goals of "rehabilitating Tibetan refugees and restoring freedom and happiness in Tibet". It was established by the 14th Dalai Lama in 1959 shortly after his exile from Tibet...

, which is based in India, has stated that it did not support the disruption of the Olympic torch relay.

The noted Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi is an Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service officer. Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman officer in the IPS. Bedi held the post of Director General at the Bureau of Police Research and Development before she voluntarily retired from...


refused to participate saying "she doesn’t want to run in the event as ‘caged woman’." On April 15, Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 actress Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan
- Early life :Khan was born into the erstwhile princely family of Pataudi. She has Muslim Pashtun ancestry through Nawabs of Pataudi lineage from her father's side and Bengali Hindu ancestry from her mother's side...

 pulled out of the Olympic torch relay, citing “very strong personal reasons”.
On April 16, a protest was organised in Delhi "against Chinese repression in Tibet", and was broken up by the police.



 Thailand Thailand: The April 18 relay through Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

 was the Olympic flame's first visit to Thailand. The relay covered just over 10 km, and included Bangkok's Chinatown. The torch was carried past Democracy Monument, Chitralada Palace
Chitralada Palace
Chitralada Palace is the Bangkok residence of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. King Bhumibol was the first king in the Chakri dynasty to live in the Chitralda Palace. He moved there after the death of his older brother, King Rama VIII in the Grand Palace...

 and a number of other city landmarks. M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse
Narisa Chakrabongse
The Honourable Narisa Chakrabongse is the only daughter of Prince Chula Chakrabongse and his English wife Elisabeth Hunter.Narisa Chakrabongse married Allen Levy and had a son, Hugo Chula Alexander or Chulachak Chakrabongse...

, Green World Foundation (GWF) chairwoman, withdrew from the torch-running ceremony, protesting against China's actions in Tibet. Several hundred protesters were present, along with Olympic supporters.
Thai authorities threatened to arrest foreign protesters and ban them from future entry into Thailand. A coalition of Thai human rights groups announced that it would organise a "small demonstration" during the relay, and several hundred people did indeed take part in protests, facing Beijing supporters. Intended torchbearer Mom Rajawongse Narissara Chakrabongse boycotted the relay, to protest against China's actions in Tibet. In Bangkok, students told the media that the Chinese Embassy provided them with transportation and gave them shirts to wear.



 Malaysia Malaysia: The event was held in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, on April 21. The 16.5 km long-relay began from the historic Independence Square
Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square may refer to:*Merdeka Square, Jakarta- The central park of Jakarta with National Monument rise in the center to commemorate the Indonesian independence....

, passed in front of several city landmarks before coming to an end at the iconic Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are skyscrapers and twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

. Among the landmarks the Olympic flame passed next to were the Parliament House, National Mosque, KL Tower
Kuala Lumpur Tower
The Kuala Lumpur Tower is a tall tower located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Its construction was finished in 1995. It is used for communication purposes and features an antenna that reaches 421 m , which currently makes it the second tallest freestanding tower in the world. The roof of the pod is at...

 and Merdeka Stadium. A team of 1000 personnel from the Malaysian police Special Action Squad guarded the event and escorted the torchbearers. The last time an Olympic torch relay was held in Malaysia was the 1964 Tokyo edition
1964 Summer Olympics
The 1964 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Tokyo had been awarded with the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honor was subsequently passed to Helsinki because of Japan's...

.

Just days before the relay supporters of Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

 demonstrated in front of the Chinese embassy in the Malaysian capital. As many as 1,000 personnel from the special police unit were expected to be deployed on the day of the relay. A Japanese family with Malaysian citizenship and their 5-year-old child who unfurled a Tibetan flag were hit by a group of Chinese nationals with plastic air-filled batons and heckled by a crowd of Chinese citizens during the confrontation at Independence Square
Dataran Merdeka
Merdeka Square is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It was here the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on August 31, 1957...

 where the relay began, and the Chinese group shouted: "Taiwan and Tibet belong to China." Later during the day, the Chinese volunteers forcefully took away placards from two other Malaysians protesting at the relay. One of the protesting Malaysian was hit in the head.



 Indonesia Indonesia: The Olympic flame reached Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 on April 22. The original 20 km relay through Jakarta was cancelled due to "security worries", at the request of the Chinese embassy, and the torch was instead carried round the city main's stadium, as it had been in Islamabad. Several dozen pro-Tibet protesters gathered near the stadium, and were dispersed by the police.
The event was held in the streets around the city main's stadium. The cancelling of the relay through the city itself was decided due to security concerns and at the request of the Chinese embassy. Only invitees and journalists were admitted inside the stadium. Protests took place outside the stadium.




 Australia Australia: The event was held in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory on April 24, and covered around 16 km of Canberra's central areas, from Reconciliation Place
Reconciliation Place
Reconciliation Place is an urban landscape design in the Parliamentary Triangle Canberra, Australia, commenced in 2001 as a monument to reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous people and settler population....

 to Commonwealth Park
Commonwealth Park
Commonwealth Park is in Canberra, Australia, on the north side of Lake Burley Griffin. The annual spring Floriade festival is held in the park...

. Upon its arrival in Canberra, the Olympic flame was presented by Chinese officials to local Aboriginal elder Agnes Shea, of the Ngunnawal people
Ngunnawal people
The Ngunnawal people are the Indigenous Australian inhabitants whose traditional lands encompass much of the area now occupied by the city of Canberra, Australia and the surrounding Australian Capital Territory...

. She, in turn, offered them a message stick, as a gift of peace and welcome. Hundreds of pro-Tibet protesters and thousands of Chinese students reportedly attended. Demonstrators and counter-demonstrators were kept apart by the Australian Federal Police
Australian Federal Police
The Australian Federal Police is the federal police agency of the Commonwealth of Australia. Although the AFP was created by the amalgamation in 1979 of three Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, it traces its history from Commonwealth law enforcement agencies dating back to the federation of...

. Preparations for the event were marred by a disagreement over the role of the Chinese flame attendants, with Australian and Chinese officials arguing publicly over their function and prerogatives during a press conference.

Following the events in Olympia, there were reports that China requested permission to deploy People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 personnel along the relay route to protect the flame in Canberra. Australian authorities stated that such a request, if it were to be made, would be refused. Chinese officials labeled it a rumor. Australian police have been given powers to search relay spectators, following a call by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association for Chinese Australian students to "go defend our sacred torch" against "ethnic degenerate scum and anti-China separatists". Tony Goh, chairman of the Australian Council of Chinese Organisations, has said the ACCO would be taking "thousands" of pro-Beijing demonstrators to Canberra by bus, to support the torch relay. Zhang Rongan, a Chinese Australian student organising pro-Beijing demonstrations, told the press that Chinese diplomats were assisting with the organization of buses, meals and accommodation for pro-Beijing demonstrators, and helping them organise a "peaceful show of strength". Foreign Minister Stephen Smith
Stephen Smith (Australian politician)
Stephen Francis Smith , is the Australian Minister for Defence. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1993, representing the Division of Perth, Western Australia....

 said Chinese officials were urging supporters to "turn up and put a point of view", but that he had no objection to it as long as they remained peaceful.


Intended torchbearer Lin Hatfield Dodds
Lin Hatfield Dodds
Lin Hatfield Dodds , Australian social activist and former Churchill Fellow, was an unsuccessful candidate for political office for the Australian Senate representing the Australian Capital Territory at the 2010 federal election, for the Australian Greens.-Early life and background:Hatfield Dodds...

 withdrew from the event, explaining that she wished to express concern about China's human rights record. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said her decision was "a very good example of peacefully making a point".

Up to 600 pro-Tibet protesters were expected to attend the relay, along with between 2,000 and 10,000 Chinese supporters. Taking note of the high number of Chinese supporters, Ted Quinlan
Ted Quinlan
Edward Andrew John "Ted" Quinlan is an Australian politician. He was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2006, representing the district of Molonglo....

, head of the Canberra torch relay committee, said: "We didn't expect this reaction from the Chinese community. It is obviously a well-coordinated plan to take the day by weight of numbers. But we have assurances that it will be done peacefully.". Also, Australia's ACT
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

 Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope
Jon Stanhope
Jonathan Ronald Stanhope is a former Australian politician who was Labor Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory from 2001 to 2011. Stanhope represented the Ginninderra electorate in the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1998 until 2011. He resigned as Chief Minister on 12 May 2011 and as...

 confirmed that the Chinese embassy was closely involve to ensure that "pro-China demonstrators vastly outnumbered Tibetan activists." Australian freestyle swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
Ian James Thorpe OAM , nicknamed the Thorpedo and Thorpey, is an Australian swimmer who specialises in freestyle, but also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most...

 ended the Australian leg of the torch relay April 24, 2008, touching the flame to light a cauldron after a run that was only marginally marked by protests. People demonstrated both for China and for Tibet. At least five people were arrested during the torch relay. Police said "the five were arrested for interfering with the event under special powers enacted in the wake of massive protests against Chinese policy toward Tibet." At one point, groups of Chinese students surrounded and intimidated pro-Tibet protesters. One person had to be pulled aboard a police launch when a group of pro-Chinese students looked like they might force him into the lake.



 Japan Japan: The event was held in Nagano, which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics
1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participans contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The games saw the introduction of Women's ice...

, on April 26. Japanese Buddhist temple Zenkō-ji
Zenko-ji
' is a Buddhist temple located in Nagano, Japan. The temple was built in the 7th century. Nagano City, established in 1897, was originally a town built around the temple. Historically, Zenkō-ji is perhaps most famous for its involvement in the battles between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen in...

, which was originally scheduled to be the starting point for the Olympic torch relay in Nagano
Nagano, Nagano
, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture, is located in the northern part of the prefecture near the confluence of the Chikuma and the Sai rivers, on the main Japanese island of Honshū.As of April 1, 2011 the city has a population of 387,146...

, refused to host the torch and pulled out of the relay plans, amid speculation that monks there sympathized with anti-Chinese government protesters. as well as the risk of disruption by violent protests. Parts of Zenkō-ji temple's main building (Zenkō-ji Hondō), reconstructed in 1707 and one of the National Treasures of Japan
National treasures of Japan
National Treasures are the most precious of Japan's Tangible Cultural Properties, as determined and designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs...

, was then vandalized with spraypaint. A new starting point, previously the site of a municipal building and now a parking lot, was chosen by the city. An event the city had planned to hold at the Minami Nagano Sports Park following the torch relay was also canceled out of concern about disruptions caused by demonstrators protesting against China's recent crackdown in Tibet. Thousands of riot police were mobilized to protect the torch along its route. The show of force kept most protesters in check, but slogans shouted by pro-China or pro-Tibet demonstrators, Japanese nationalists, and human rights organizations flooded the air. Five men were arrested and four injured amidst scenes of mob violence. The torch route was packed with mostly peaceful demonstrators. The public was not allowed at the parking lot where the relay started. After the Zenkoji monks held a prayer ceremony for victims of the recent events in Tibet. More than 100 police officers ran with the torch and riot police lined the streets while three helicopters flew above. Only two Chinese guards were allowed to accompany the torch because of Japan's concern over their treatment of demonstrators at previous relays. A man with a Tibetan flag tried to stop the torch at the beginning of the relay but was dragged off by police. Some raw eggs were also thrown from the crowd.




 South Korea South Korea: The event was held in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, which hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

, on April 27.
Intended torchbearers Choi Seung-kook and Park Won-sun boycotted the event to protest against the Chinese government's crackdown in Tibet. More than 8,000 riot police were deployed to guard the 15-mile route, which began at Olympic Park, which was built when Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Games. On the day of the torch relay in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, Chinese students clashed with protesters, throwing rocks, bottles, and punches. A North Korean defector whose brother defected to China but was captured and executed by the DPRK, attempted to set himself on fire in protest
Self-immolation
Self-immolation refers to setting oneself on fire, often as a form of protest or for the purposes of martyrdom or suicide. It has centuries-long traditions in some cultures, while in modern times it has become a type of radical political protest...

 of China's treatment of North Korean refugees. He poured gasoline on himself but police quickly surrounded him and carried him away. Two other demonstrators tried to storm the torch but failed. Fighting broke out near the beginning of the relay between a group of 500 Chinese supporters and approximately 50 protesters who carried a banner that read: "Free North Korean refugees in China." The students threw stones and water bottles as approximately 2,500 police tried to keep the groups separated. Police said they arrested five people, including a Chinese student who was arrested for allegedly throwing rocks. Thousands of Chinese followed the torch on its 4.5 hour journey, some chanting, "Go China, go Olympics!" By the end of the relay, Chinese students became violent, and it was reported in Korean media that they were "lynching" everyone who was disagreeing with them. One police man was also rushed to hospital after being attacked by Chinese students. On Apr 29, the Secretary of Justice, Kim Kyung Han, told the prime minister that he will find "every single Chinese who was involved and bring them to justice." Later in the day, South Korea's Prosecutor's Office, National Police Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (South Korea)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is in charge of diplomacy for South Korea, as well as handling external trade and matters related to overseas Korean nationals. It was established on 17 July 1948. Until 1998, the ministry was known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; its jurisdiction over...

 and National Intelligence Service
National Intelligence Service (South Korea)
The National Intelligence Service is the chief intelligence agency of South Korea. The agency was officially established in 1961 as the Korea Central Intelligence Agency , during the rule of President Park Chung-hee's military Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, which displaced the...

 made a joint statement saying that they will be deporting every Chinese student that was involved in the incident. China defended the conduct of the students.



 North Korea North Korea: The event was held in Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 on April 28. It was the first time that the Olympic torch has traveled to North Korea. A crowd of thousands waving pink paper flowers and small flags with the Beijing Olympics logo were organized by the authoritarian regime watched the beginning of the relay in Pyongyang, some waving Chinese flags. The event was presided over by the head of the country's parliament, Kim Yong Nam
Kim Yong-nam
Kim Yong-nam is the current North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, a position held since 1998. He was elected a member of the presidium of the politburo of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2010.He was born in the Central District, Heijo ,...

. The North, an ally of China, has been critical of disruptions to the torch relay elsewhere and has supported Beijing in its actions against protests in Tibet. Kim passed the torch to the first runner Pak Du Ik
Pak Doo-Ik
Pak Doo-Ik is a North Korean former footballer.Pak Doo-Ik was born at Pyongyang. He represented North Korea at the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England, scoring the famous winning goal in their shock 1-0 win over Italy at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, a game since immortalized in World Cup lore and the...

, who played on North Korea's 1966 World Cup soccer team, as he began the 12-mile route through Pyongyang. The relay began from the large sculpted flame of the obelisk of the Juche Tower
Juche Tower
The Juche Tower is a monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. The tower is named after the principle of Juche, developed by Kim Il Sung as a blend of autarky, self-reliance, nationalism, isolationism, Korean traditionalism, and Marxism-Leninism.Completed in 1982, it is sited on the eastern bank of the...

, which commemorates the national ideology of "self-reliance" created by the country's late founding President Kim Il Sung, father of current leader Kim Jong Il, who did not attend.

The United Nations Organization and its children's agency UNICEF withdrew their staff, saying that it wasn't sure the event would help its mission of raising awareness of conditions for children and amid concerns that the relay would be used as a propaganda stunt. "It was unconscionable," said a UN official who was briefed on the arguments. North Korea is frequently listed among the world’s worst offenders against human rights.

 Vietnam Vietnam: The event was held in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 on April 29. Some 60 torchbearers carried the torch from the downtown Opera House
Municipal Theatre, Ho Chi Minh City
The Saigon Opera House , an opera house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam.Built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene, the 800 seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam after 1956...

 to the Military Zone 7 Competition Hall stadium near Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is Vietnam's largest international airport in terms of area . It has a handling capacity of 15-17 million passengers per year, compared with the capacity of Hanoi - Noi Bai airport of 8 million passengers and Da Nang's 2 million passengers...

 along an undisclosed route. Vietnam is involved in a territorial dispute with China (and other countries) for sovereignty of the Spratly
Spratly Islands
The Spratly Islands are a group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia , about one third of the way from there to southern Vietnam. They comprise less than four square kilometers of land...

 and Paracel Islands
Paracel Islands
The Paracel Islands, also called Xisha Islands in Chinese and Hoàng Sa Islands in Vietnamese, is a group of islands under the administration of Hainan Province, The People's Republic of China. Vietnam and the Republic of China also claim sovereignty of these islands...

; tensions have risen recently following reports that the Chinese government had established a county-level city named Sansha
Hainan Province Paracels, Spratlys, and Zhongsha Islands Authority
The Administration Office for Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands and Nansha Islands is a county-level subdivision of Hainan Province in the People's Republic of China...

 in the disputed territories, resulting in anti-Chinese demonstrations in December 2007 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However to sustain its relationship with China the Vietnamese government has actively sought to head off protests during the torch relay, with Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng warning government agencies that "hostile forces" may try to disrupt the torch relay.

Prior to the rally, seven anti-China protestors were arrested in Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 after unfurling a banner and shouting "Boycott the Beijing Olympics" through a loudhailer at a market. A Vietnamese American
Vietnamese American
A Vietnamese American is an American of Vietnamese descent. They make up about half of all overseas Vietnamese and are the fourth-largest Asian American group....

 was deported for planning protests against the torch, while a prominent blogger, Điếu Cày (real name Nguyễn Văn Hải), who blogged about protests around the world and who called for demonstrations in Vietnam, was arrested on charges of tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

. Outside Vietnam, there were protests by overseas Vietnamese in Paris, San Francisco and Canberra. Lê Minh Phiếu, a torchbearer who is a Vietnamese law student studying in France, wrote a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee protesting China's "politicisation of the Olympics", citing maps of the torch relay at the official Beijing Olympic website depicting the disputed islands as Chinese territory and posted it on his blog. One day before the relay was to start, the official website appeared to have been updated to remove the disputed islands and dotted lines marking China's maritime claims in the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

.



: The event was held in Hong Kong on May 2. In the ceremony held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
The Hong Kong Cultural Centre is a multipurpose performance facility in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong. Located at Salisbury Road, it was founded by the former Urban Council and, after 2000, is administered by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong Government...

 in Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui , often abbreviated as TST, is an urbanized area in southern Kowloon, Hong Kong. The area is administratively part of the Yau Tsim Mong District. Tsim Sha Tsui East is a piece of land reclaimed from the Hung Hom Bay now east of Tsim Sha Tsui...

, Chief Executive
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

 Donald Tsang
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....

 handed the torch to the first torchbearer, Olympic medalist Lee Lai Shan
Lee Lai Shan
Lee Lai-Shan MBE BBS is a former world champion and Olympic gold medal-winning professional windsurfer from Hong Kong. She is the first and last ever athlete to win an Olympic medal representing Hong Kong, not as part of China...

. The torch relay then traveled through Nathan Road, Lantau Link
Lantau Link
The Lantau Link, formerly known as the Lantau Fixed Crossing, is a series of infrastructures linking Hong Kong International Airport to the urban areas in Hong Kong. It was officially opened on 27 April 1997, and it opened to traffic on 22 May the same year.-Infrastructure:The Lantau Link is 3.5 km...

, Sha Tin
Sha Tin
Sha Tin, also spelled Shatin, is an area around the Shing Mun River in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of the Sha Tin District.-Geography:...

 (crossed Shing Mun River
Shing Mun River
Shing Mun River, or Shing Mun River Channel, is a river in Sha Tin, Hong Kong.-History:The original Shing Mun River began at Needle Hill, and flowed into the former Tide Cove , a shallow bay. In the 1970s, Tide Cove was drained and turned to Sha Tin New Town...

 via a dragon boat
Dragon boat
A dragon boat is a human-powered watercraft traditionally made, in the Pearl River delta region of southern China - Guangdong Province, of teak wood to various designs and sizes. In other parts of China different woods are used to build these traditional watercraft...

, which had been never used before in the history of Olympic torch relays), Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent...

 (crossed by Tin Hau, a VIP vessel managed by the Marine Department) before ending in Golden Bauhinia Square
Golden Bauhinia Square
The Golden Bauhinia Square is an open area in Wan Chai North, Hong Kong. The square was named after the giant statue of a golden Bauhinia blakeana at the centre of the area, situated outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the ceremonies for the handover of Hong Kong and the...

 in Wan Chai
Wan Chai
Wan Chai is a metropolitan area situated at the western part of the Wan Chai District on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, in Hong Kong. Its other boundaries are Canal Road to the east, Arsenal Street to the west and Bowen Road to the south. The area north of Gloucester Road is often called...

.
A total of 120 torchbearers were selected to participate in the event consisting of celebrities, athletes and pro-Beijing camp politicians. No politicians from the pro-democracy camp
Pro-democracy camp
Pro-democracy camp, pan-democracy camp or pan-democrats refer to the politicians and social activists in Hong Kong who support increased democracy and may work together in areas of common interest or by not fielding candidates against one another in elections.Democratic activists are usually...

 were selected as torchbearers. One torchbearer could not participate due to flight delay. It was estimated that more than 200,000 spectators came out and watched the relay. Many enthusiastic supporters wore red shirts and waved large Chinese flags
Flag of the People's Republic of China
The flag of the People's Republic of China is a red field charged in the canton with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly...

. According to Hong Kong Chief Secretary for Administration
Chief Secretary for Administration
The Chief Secretary for Administration , commonly known as Chief Secretary and abbreviated as CS, is the second highest position of the Hong Kong Government...

 Henry Tang
Henry Tang
Henry Tang Ying-yen, GBM, GBS, JP was the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong until his resignation in September 2011. He is a candidate in the Hong Kong Chief Executive election of 2012, and believed to be preferred by Beijing....

, 3,000 police were deployed to ensure order.

There were several protests along the torch relay route. Members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, including pro-democracy activist Szeto Wah
Szeto Wah
Szeto Wah was a politician of the pan-democracy camp of Hong Kong. He was formerly the chairman of The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and a member of the Legislative Council from 1985 to 1997 and 1998 to 2004.Although the Hong Kong government prior to as...

, waved novelty inflatable
Inflatable
An inflatable is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with air, but hydrogen, helium and nitrogen are also used. One of several advantages of an inflatable is that it can be stored in a small space when not inflated, since inflatables depend on the presence of a gas to maintain their...

 plastic Olympic flames, which they said symbolised democracy. They wanted accountability for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

 and the implementation of democracy in Hong Kong. Political activist and Legislative Council
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of Hong Kong.-History:The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 as a colonial legislature under British rule...

 member Leung Kwok-hung (Longhair)
Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung , also known as Long Hair , is a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong , a founding member of the League of Social Democrats and a democratic political activist.-Biography:Leung is a self-proclaimed Trotskyist and a member of April Fifth Action, a radical socialist...

 also joined the protest, saying "I'm very proud that in Hong Kong we still have people brave enough to speak out." Pro-democracy activists were overwhelmed by a crowd of torch supporters with insults like "running dog," "traitor," "get out!," and "I love the Communist Party
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

." At the same time, about 10 members of the Civil Human Rights Front
Civil Human Rights Front
Civil Human Rights Front or CHRF is an organization that focuses on the issues of Hong Kong politics and livelihood, affiliates almost all the pan-democratic camps in Hong Kong. Forty-eight NGOs and political groups have been involved in the organization as of January 2006...

 had orange banners calling for human rights improvements and universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

. Onlookers were saying "Aren't you Chinese?" in Mandarin putonghua as they tried to cover the orange banners with a large Chinese national flag. One woman had an orange sign that said, "Olympic flame for democracy", while a man carried a poster with a tank and the slogan "One world, two dreams". A university student and former RDHK radio host Christina Chan
Christina Chan
Christina Chan is a political activist in Hong Kong, known for her stand on human rights, democracy and Tibetan independence. She is enrolled in a master's degree in philosophy in the University of Hong Kong.-Early life:...

 wrapped the Tibetan snow lion flag
Flag of Tibet
The Tibetan flag, also known as the 'snow lion flag' and the 'Free Tibet flag', was a flag of the military of Tibet, introduced by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1912 and used in the same capacity until 1959. Designed with the help of a Japanese, it reflects the design motif of Japanese military's Rising...

 around her body and later began waving it. Several onlookers heckled Chan, shouting "What kind of Chinese are you?" and "What a shame!" In the end, she and some of the protesters were taken away against their will by the authorities via a police vehicle "for their own protection." Chan is currently suing the Hong Kong government, claiming her human rights were breached. (case number HCAL139/08)

The Color Orange democracy group, led by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt
Jens Galschiøt
Jens Galschiøt, , is a Danish sculptor best known for the Pillar of Shame. Galschiøt moved to Odense in 1973, and in 1985 he opened a 2000 square metre combined foundry, studio, gallery and sculpture park...

, originally planned to join the Hong Kong Alliance relay and paint the "Pillar of Shame
Pillar of Shame
Pillar of Shame is a series of sculptures by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt. Each sculpture is an 8-metre tall bronze, copper or concrete statue — four have been erected, in Rome, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil. A fifth one in Berlin was planned.-Symbolism:...

", a structure he built in Hong Kong to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. However, Galschiøt and two other people were denied entry to Hong Kong on April 26, 2008 due to "immigration reasons" and were forced to leave Hong Kong. In response, Lee Cheuk Yan
Lee Cheuk Yan
Lee Cheuk-yan is the member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong representing the New Territories West constituency. He is also General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and the chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in...

, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said, "It's outrageous that the government is willing to sacrifice the image of Hong Kong because of the torch relay." Hollywood actress Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow is an American actress, singer, humanitarian, and fashion model.Farrow first gained wide acclaim for her role as Allison Mackenzie in the soap opera Peyton Place, and for her subsequent short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra...

 was also briefly questioned at the Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport , being built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.The airport opened for commercial...

 though officials allowed her to enter. She later gave a speech criticizing China's relations with Sudan in Hong Kong, as there was also a small minority of people protesting about China's role in the crisis of Darfur. Legislator Cheung Man Kwong
Cheung Man Kwong
Cheung Man Kwong , born 15 September 1954 in Hong Kong with family roots in Taishan, Guangdong) is a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council representing the Education functional constituency. He is a member of Hong Kong Democratic Party and chairman of Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union...

 have also said the government's decision allowing Farrow to enter while denying others is a double standard
Double standard
A double standard is the unjust application of different sets of principles for similar situations. The concept implies that a single set of principles encompassing all situations is the desirable ideal. The term has been used in print since at least 1895...

 and a violation to Hong Kong's one country, two systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

 policy.


Macao: The event was held in Macau on May 3. It was the first time that the Olympic torch had traveled to Macau. A ceremony was held at Macau Fisherman's Wharf
Macau Fisherman's Wharf
The Macau Fisherman's Wharf is the first theme park in Macau. It is located in the Macau Peninsula, near the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier. The construction took 5 years, before an opening ceremony by the Chief Executive of Macau and trial operation began on December 31, 2005...

. Afterward, the torch traveled through Macau, passing by a number of landmarks including A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple , situated on the southwest tip of the Macau Peninsula, is one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau. Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen....

, Macau Tower
Macau Tower
Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre , also known as Macau Tower, is a tower located in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The tower measures 338 m in height from ground level to the highest point...

, Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho
Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho
Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge , also known as the Macau-Taipa Bridge , is a dual-lane two-way bridge connecting Macau Peninsula near Casino Lisboa and the island of Taipa at the northern slope of Taipa Pequena . It is the first bridge in Macau, to connect the peninsula and Taipa...

, Ponte de Sai Van
Ponte de Sai Van
Ponte de Sai Van is a cable-stayed bridge in Macau inaugurated on December 19, 2004. The bridge measures long and is the third one that connects Taipa Island and Macau Peninsula...

, Macau Cultural Centre, Macau Stadium and then back to the Fisherman's Wharf for the closing ceremony. Parts of the route near Ruins of St. Paul's and Taipa
Taipa
Taipa is the smaller of the two islands in the Chinese special administrative region of Macao .- Geography :It is 2.5 kilometres from Macau Peninsula and east of the Lesser Hengqin Island of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province...

 was shortened due to large crowds of supporters blocking narrow streets. A total of 120 torchbearers participated in this event including casino tycoon Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho, GBM, GLM, GBS, GML, OBE , also known as Ho Hung Sun, Stanley Ho Hung Sun, is an entrepreneur in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho is sometimes nicknamed "The King of Gambling", reflecting the government-granted monopoly he held of the Macau gambling industry for 40 years...

. Leong Hong Man and Leong Heng Teng were the first and last torchbearer in the relay respectively. An article published on Macao Daily News
Macao Daily News
Macao Daily News is the bestselling newspaper in Macau. It is one of two popular Chinese language dailies....

 criticized that the list of the torchbearers could not fully represent the Macanese
Macanese
Macanese may refer to:* Macanese people, the people of Macau* Macanese people , an ethnic group in Macau of mainly Portuguese, and some with African, Cantonese, South Asian, Southeast Asian or other origins...

 and that there were too many non-athletes among the torchbearers. (some of whom had already been torchbearers of other sporting events)

A union planned to protest at the relay for better living conditions. Hong Kong legislator Michael Mak Kwok-fung and activist Chan Cheong, both members of the League of Social Democrats
League of Social Democrats
The League of Social Democrats or LSD is a radical pro-democratic political party in Hong Kong. Its declared purpose is to "take a clear-cut stand to defend the interests of the grassroots"...

, were not allowed to enter Macau.

A Macau resident was arrested on April 26 for posting a message on cyberctm.com encouraging people to disrupt the relay. Both orchidbbs.com and cyberctm.com Internet forums were shut down from May 2 to May 4. This fueled speculation that the shutdowns were targeting speeches against the relay. The head of the Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation has denied that the shutdowns of the websites were politically motivated. About 2,200 police were deployed on the streets, there were no interruptions.

Domestic leg



 People's Republic of China China: The torch returned to China for the first time since April. The torch arrived in Sanya
Sanya
Sanya is the southernmost city in China and is a part of Hainan Province. In 2006, it had a population of 536,000, making it, after the provincial capital , the second most populous city on the island. The city is renowned for its tropical climate and has emerged as a popular tourist destination,...

, Hainan
Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

 on May 4 with celebrations attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials and Chinese big names like Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

. The entire relay through Mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 was largely a success with many people welcoming the arrival of the torch along the way.

Some notable incidents are:
  • During the Fujian
    Fujian
    ' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

     run, the relay carried a cross-strait
    Cross-Strait relations
    Cross-Strait relations refers to the relations between People's Republic of China and the Republic of China , which lie to the west and east, repectively, of the Taiwan Strait in the west Pacific Ocean....

     theme since the province is geographically across from Taiwan. The Beijing Organizing Committee
    Beijing Organizing Committee
    The The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, or BOCOG, also known as the Beijing Organizing Committee, is an informal name for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. It was also the organizing committee for the Games of the XIII Paralympiad...

     invited people from Taiwan to witness the torch relay, but the organisers offered no further details.
  • On May 8, a simultaneous run of the torch was done as part of the summit on Mt. Everest
    2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
    The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route...

    .
  • A 28-year old man in Jiangsu
    Jiangsu
    ' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

     known as "Tang" was arrested for spreading rumors online he would go to Nanjing
    Nanjing
    ' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

     (the May 27 leg) to grab the torch.
  • The last leg of the Fujian
    Fujian
    ' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

     run was gloomily shadowed by the May 12 Sichuan earthquake
    2008 Sichuan earthquake
    The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

    . As a result, the relay began on May 14 with a moment of silence
    Moment of silence
    A moment of silence is the expression for a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection, or meditation. Similar to flying a flag at half-mast, a moment of silence is often a gesture of respect, particularly in mourning for those who have recently died or as part of a commemoration ceremony...

     as the torch made its way through the province of Jiangxi
    Jiangxi
    ' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

    . From May 19 through 21, the relay was suspended as the State Council
    State Council of the People's Republic of China
    The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

     designated these three days as national days of mourning for the victims in the earthquake. The relay through the province of Sichuan
    Sichuan
    ' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

     was postponed.
  • On May 23, the relay began in Shanghai. Tens of thousands gathered at the famous People’s Square
    People's Square (Shanghai)
    People's Square is a large public square adjacent to Nanjing Road in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, China. People's Square is the site of Shanghai's municipal government headquarter building, and is used as the standard reference point for measurement of distance in the Shanghai...

     and the Bund
    The Bund
    The Bund is a waterfront area in central Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District...

     along the Huangpu River
    Huangpu River
    The Huangpu River is a -long river in China flowing through Shanghai...

     to welcome the torch. It passed through Pudong
    Pudong
    Pudong |Bank]]") is an area of Shanghai, China, located along the east side of the Huangpu River, across from the historic city center of Shanghai in Puxi. Formerly a little-developed agricultural area linked only by ferries, Pudong has grown rapidly since the 1990s and emerged as China's financial...

    , the crown-jewel of Shanghai’s districts and PRC’s financial capital. The two-day Shanghai leg concluded in Anting, an automobile hub in Shanghai’s suburbs, and home to the city’s Formula One
    Formula One
    Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

     Shanghai International Circuit
    Shanghai International Circuit
    The Shanghai International Circuit is a motor racing circuit, situated in the Jiading District of Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The circuit is best known as the venue for the annual Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, which was first hosted in 2004....

    . There was no interruptions.
  • On June 21, the relay began in the Tibet Autonomous Region
    Tibet Autonomous Region
    The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

    . The originally three-day run was cut short to only one day, likely due to the controversy surrounding the relay because of China's harsh response to the Lhasa riot and the other protests that swept the Tibetan plateau between March and May, and also the delay to the relay due to the devastating Sichuan earthquake. Xinhua, China's official news agency, claimed that organizations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) threatened to "sabotage" the relay, but there is no evidence to support this and it contradicts statements from the organizations themselves. Meanwhile, the other Olympic flame rejoined the Olympic flame used in the main torch relay route in Tibet after ascending Mount Everest. Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party Secretary in Tibet, drew criticism from the IOC who wrote to BOCOG, saying that they "regret the political statements" made by Zhang during the relay, after he claimed that they could "totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai clique".
  • On July 7, the torch was lit in Jiayuguan (the Western end of the Great Wall of China
    Great Wall of China
    The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

    ).
  • On August 3, the torch relay started in Sichuan
    Sichuan
    ' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

     after a devastated earthquake that killed almost 70,000 people in May. Sichuan was the last stop before returning to Beijing for the opening ceremony.
  • On August 8, the torch reached Beijing for the opening ceremony
    2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
    The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 8, 2008, as 8 is considered to be a lucky number. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture...

    . After a spectacular art show and the parade of nations, the flame entered the stadium
    Beijing National Stadium
    Beijing National Stadium, also known officially as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the Bird's Nest , is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.-History:...

    . The Olympic torch was relayed by 7 torchbearers before it was passed on to former Olympic gymnast Li Ning
    Li Ning
    Li Ning is a well-known Chinese gymnast and entrepreneur. He was born in an ethnic Zhuang family.-Gymnastics career:...

    . Li, who was suspended by wires, then appeared to run horizontally along the top of the stadium and lit the Olympic cauldron. After it was lit, a spectacular firework show followed, signaling the official beginning of the 29th Olympiad.

Media coverage


The coverage of the events by the media came under scrutiny during the relay. Chinese media
Media of the People's Republic of China
Media of the People's Republic of China primarily consists of television, newspapers, radio, and magazines. Since 2000, the Internet has also emerged as an important communications medium....

 coverage of the torch relay has been distinct in a number of ways from coverage elsewhere. Western reporters in Beijing have described Chinese media coverage as partial and censored (for example when Chinese media did not broadcast Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

' disruption of the torch lighting ceremony), whereas Chinese netizen
Netizen
The term Netizen is a portmanteau of the English words internet and citizen. It is defined as an entity or person actively involved in online communities and a user of the internet, especially an avid one. The term can also imply an interest in improving the internet, especially in regard to open...

s have in turn accused Western media coverage of being biased. The French newspaper Libération
Libération
Libération is a French daily newspaper founded in Paris by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July in 1973 in the wake of the protest movements of May 1968. Originally a leftist newspaper, it has undergone a number of shifts during the 1980s and 1990s...

was criticised by the Chinese State press agency Xinhua for its allegedly biased reporting; Xinhua suggested that Libération needed "a stinging slap in the face" for having "insulted the Olympic flame" and "supported a handful of saboteurs".

In response to pro-Tibet and pro-human rights protests, the Chinese media focused on the more disruptive protesters, referring for example to "a very small number of 'Tibet independence' secessionists and a handful of so-called human rights-minded NGO activists" intent on "disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games". However, the Chinese media published articles about crowds supporting the torch relay.

Xinhua and CCTV
China Central Television
China Central Television or Chinese Central Television, commonly abbreviated as CCTV, is the major state television broadcaster in mainland China. CCTV has a network of 19 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers...

 quoted relay spectators who condemned the protests, to a greater extent than most Western media, but did not quote any alternate viewpoints, providing no coverage of support for the protests by some ordinary citizens in Western countries. It quoted athletes who expressed pride at taking part in the relays, to a greater extent than Western media, but not those who, like Marie-José Pérec
Marie-José Pérec
Marie-José Pérec is a French athlete, specialised in the 200 and 400 m, and a triple Olympic champion....

, expressed understanding and support for the protestors. The Beijing Organising Committee for the Games mentioned the "smiling faces of the elderly, children and the artists on the streets", of cheering and supportive Londoners. Xinhua said that protesters were "radicals" who "trampled human rights" and whose activities were condemned by "the people of the world who cordially love the Olympic spirit".

Reports on the Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 relay were similarly distinct. Despite intended torchbearers Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi is an Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service officer. Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman officer in the IPS. Bedi held the post of Director General at the Bureau of Police Research and Development before she voluntarily retired from...

, Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan
- Early life :Khan was born into the erstwhile princely family of Pataudi. She has Muslim Pashtun ancestry through Nawabs of Pataudi lineage from her father's side and Bengali Hindu ancestry from her mother's side...

, Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is an Indian cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and one-day international cricket. He is the only male player to score a double century in the history of ODI cricket...

 and Bhaichung Bhutia all withdrawing from the event, the official Chinese website for the relay reported "Indian torchbearers vow to run for spirit of Olympics", and quoted torchbearers Manavjit Singh Sandhu
Manavjit Singh Sandhu
Manavjit Singh Sandhu is an Indian sport shooter who specializes in trap shooting. He is a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee 2006 and Arjuna Awardee 1998....

, Abhinav Bindra
Abhinav Bindra
Abhinav Singh Bindra is an Indian shooter from Zirakpur, Mohali, Punjab and is the current World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event...

, Ayaan Ali Khan
Ayaan Ali Khan
Ayaan Ali Khan is an Indian classical musician who plays the sarod. Khan is the son of Amjad Ali Khan and often performs with his older brother Amaan Ali Khan, with whom he hosted the music talent show Sa Re Ga Ma...

 and Rajinder Singh Rahelu all stating that sports and politics should not be mixed.

Chinese media have also reported on Jin Jing
Jin Jing
Jin Jing is a Chinese female Paralympic fencer. She was a torchbearer carrying the Olympic torch amid political protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Paris, France...

, whom the official Chinese torch relay website described as "heroic" and an "angel", whereas Western media initially gave her little mention - despite a Chinese claim that "Chinese Paralympic athlete Jin Jing has garnered much attention from the media".

Some Western media have reported on Chinese accusations of Western media bias. The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

published an opinion piece by the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, Fu Ying
Fu Ying
Fu Ying has been serving as vice foreign minister of People's Republic of China after served as the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom from March 2007 to 2009. From 2004 to 2007 she was the ambassador to Australia...

, who accused Western media of "demonising" China during their coverage of the torch relays. The Telegraph also asked its readers to send their views in response to the question "Is the West demonising China?" The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported on a demonstration in Sydney by Chinese Australians "voicing support for Beijing amid controversy over Tibet" and protesting against what they saw as Western media bias. The report showed demonstrators carrying signs which read "Shame on some Western media", "BBC CNN lies too" and "Stop media distortion!". One demonstrator interviewed by the BBC stated: "I saw some news from CNN, from the BBC, some media [inaudible], and they are just lying." Libération also reported that it had been accused of bias by the Chinese media.

On April 17, Xinhua condemned what it called "biased coverage of the Lhasa riots and the Olympic torch relay by the U.S.-based Cable News Network (CNN)". The same day, the Chinese government called on CNN to "apologise" for having allegedly insulted the Chinese people, and for "attempting to incite the Chinese people against the government". CNN issued a statement on April 14, responded to China over 'thugs and goons' comment by Jack Cafferty
Jack Cafferty
Jack Cafferty is a CNN commentator and occasional host of specials. In the summer of 2005, Cafferty joined The Situation Room.-Career:...

.

On April 19, the BBC reported that 1,300 people had gathered outside BBC buildings in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 and London, protesting against what they described as Western media bias. Several days earlier, the BBC had published an article entitled "The challenges of reporting in China", responding to earlier criticism. The BBC's Paul Danahar noted that Chinese people were now "able to access the BBC News website for the first time, after years of strict censorship", and that "many were critical of our coverage". He provided readers with a reminder of censorship in China, and added: "People who criticise the media for their coverage in Tibet should acknowledge that we were and still are banned from reporting there." He also quoted critical Chinese responses, and invited readers to comment.

On April 20, the People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

published a report entitled "Overseas Chinese rally against biased media coverage, for Olympics". It included images of Chinese people demonstrating in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. One picture showed Chinese demonstrators holding a sign which claimed, incorrectly, that the BBC had not reported on Jin Jing. The People's Daily quoted one protestor who claimed the "BBC on some of the recent events has misled the British public and the rest of the world by providing intensive untruthful reports and biased coverage."

On April 4, it was reported that the Chinese government appeared to be running an anti-CNN website that criticizes the cable network’s coverage of recent events. The site claims to have been created by a Beijing citizen. However, foreign correspondents in Beijing voiced suspicions that Anti-cnn
Anti-cnn
Anti-cnn.com is a website established by Rao Jin, who was a 23-year-old Chinese student at the time, in response to what he identified as "the lies and distortions of facts from the Western media" concerning the 2008 Tibetan unrest and the People's Republic of China's national unity. The anti-cnn...

 may be a semi-government-made website. A Chinese government spokesman insisted the site was spontaneously set up by a Chinese citizen angered over media coverage.

Torch security



The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee sent out a team of 30 unarmed attendants selected from the People's Armed Police
People's Armed Police
The People's Armed Police , officially Chinese People's Armed Police Force is a paramilitary or gendarmerie force primarily responsible for civilian policing and fire rescue duties in the People's Republic of China, as well as provide support to PLA during wartime.In contrast to public security...

 to escort the flame throughout its journey. According to Asian Times, sworn in as the "Beijing Olympic Games Sacred Flame Protection Unit" during a ceremony in August 2007, their main job is to keep the Olympic flame alight throughout the journey and to assist in transferring the flame between the torches, the lanterns and the cauldrons. They wear matching blue tracksuits and are intended to accompany the torch every step of the way. One of the torch attendants, dubbed "Second Right Brother," has developed a significant online fan-base, particularly among China's female netizen
Netizen
The term Netizen is a portmanteau of the English words internet and citizen. It is defined as an entity or person actively involved in online communities and a user of the internet, especially an avid one. The term can also imply an interest in improving the internet, especially in regard to open...

s.

Two additional teams of 40 attendants each will accompany the flame on its Mainland China route. This arrangement has however sparked several controversies.

Flashpoints
On April 6, Sebastian Coe, the head of 2012 London Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

 said about the attendants, "Horrible...They tried to push me out of the way three times. They did not speak English. They were thugs." According to the China News Service
China News Service
The China News Service is the second largest state-owned news agency in the People's Republic of China, after the Xinhua News Agency. It serves mainly overseas Chinese and residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan....

, however, the attendants have received training in five foreign language
Foreign language
A foreign language is a language indigenous to another country. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to, i.e. an English speaker living in Japan can say that Japanese is a foreign language to him or her...

s (English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese) and the etiquette of various countries before their mission. Konnie Huq
Konnie Huq
Kanak Asha "Konnie" Huq is a British television presenter, who is best known for being the longest-serving female presenter of Blue Peter, having presented it from 1 December 1997 until 23 January 2008...

 reportedly described them as "bloody aggressive" and "robotic". The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that London's Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan police
Metropolitan Police is a generic title for the municipal police force for a major metropolitan area, and it may be part of the official title of the force...

 criticized the Protection Unit for "getting in the way of officers trying to restore calm". Also in the United Kingdom, Shadow Home Secretary
Shadow Home Secretary
In British politics, the Shadow Home Secretary is the person within the shadow cabinet who 'shadows' the Home Secretary; this effectively means scrutinising government policy on home affairs including policing, national security, immigration, the criminal justice system, the prison service, and...

 David Davis
David Davis (British politician)
David Michael Davis is a British Conservative Party politician who is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Haltemprice and Howden...

 expressed concerns about the Protection Unit, and asked Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 Jacqui Smith
Jacqui Smith
Jacqueline Jill "Jacqui" Smith is a member of the British Labour Party. She served as the Member of Parliament for Redditch from 1997 until 2010 and was the first ever female Home Secretary, thus making her the third woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State — after Margaret Thatcher and...

: “Who in the British Government authorized their presence and what checks were made as to their background?” Damian Hockney
Damian Hockney
Damian Hockney is a British politician and the leader of the One London Party. He was a London Assembly member and a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority from 2004 to 2008.-Political background:...

, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, stated that "there's no way people like that should be allowed on our streets". At a later mayoral debate, the incumbent mayor, Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party...

, admitted that allowing the Chinese secret police to guard the Olympic torch during its London relay was a mistake saying "it was wrong and should not have happened". On April 25, the British government's national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 department, the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

, passed complaints about Chinese security guards' conduct during the London Olympic torch relay to the Olympic Games organisers. Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 Jacqui Smith
Jacqui Smith
Jacqueline Jill "Jacqui" Smith is a member of the British Labour Party. She served as the Member of Parliament for Redditch from 1997 until 2010 and was the first ever female Home Secretary, thus making her the third woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State — after Margaret Thatcher and...

 stated that the guards had no policing powers and that they could only protect the Olympic flame by "placing themselves between the offender and the torch bearer". She also added, "We are raising concerns that have been reported in the media and by spectators at the torch relay with the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games through the event organisers."
  • On April 7, during the torch's journey through Paris, due to frequent attempts by protesters who were seemingly from the pro-Tibet camp to capture or extinguish the torch, flame attendants extinguished the torch on several occasions and removed it from the hands of torchbearers to place it aboard a bus, thus altering the intended relay. This prompted criticism from Paris' mayor, Bertrand Delanoë
    Bertrand Delanoë
    Bertrand Delanoë is a French politician, and has been the mayor of Paris since 2001. He is member of the Socialist Party . Delanoë was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a French-Tunisian father and a French mother...

    , who accused them of "disrupting" the passing of the torch from athlete David Douillet
    David Douillet
    David Douillet is a French judoka and politician.Douillet was born in the city of Rouen. Standing at 1.90 meters and weighing 125 kilograms , he won the judo heavyweight gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Sydney. He also gained four world titles and a European crown...

     to Teddy Riner
    Teddy Riner
    Teddy Riner is a French judoka. He's and and has been given the nickames Teddy Bear and Teddy Winner. At 18 years and 5 months Teddy Riner became the youngest world champion of the history of his sport. To date, he holds an unmatched record of six world titles obtained in the +100kg, Men's Team...

    .
  • On April 11, the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission
    National Public Safety Commission (Japan)
    The is a Japanese Cabinet Office commission. It is headquartered in the 2nd Building of the Central Common Government Office at 2-1-2 Kasumigasaeki in Chiyoda, Tokyo....

     of Japan, Shinya Izumi
    Shinya Izumi
    is a Japanese politician, who has been serving as chairman of National Public Safety Commission in Shinzō Abe's cabinet since August 2007. He is a member of Liberal Democratic Party and member of the House of Councillors in the Diet of Japan ....

     indicated that Japan will not welcome "security runners" from China to accompany the Olympic torch when it arrives in Nagano if their role is to serve as guards. Izumi said, "We do not know what position the people who escorted the relay are in," Izumi continued, "If they are for the consideration of security, it is our role." The director-General of the National Police Agency
    National Police Agency (Japan)
    The is an agency administered by the National Public Safety Commission of the Cabinet Office in the cabinet of Japan, and is the central coordinating agency of the Japanese police system....

     of Japan, Hiroto Yoshimura said the issue was connected to Japan's sovereignty, "If the accompanying runners are there to provide maintenance for the torch, then there's no problem, but if they are providing security then it's a problem in terms of violating Japan's sovereignty, and we would tell the Chinese side not to provide security."
  • On April 7, the federal government of Australia ruled out any Chinese involvement in security operations when the Olympic torch arrives in Australia. Chinese flame attendants will be allowed into Australia, but only to maintain the flame. The chairman of the Canberra relay taskforce, Ted Quinlan, has stated they "could be subject to arrest [...] if they laid a hand on somebody". On April 22, Chinese ambassador to Australia Zhang Junsai stated that the flame attendants would "use their bodies" to protect the torch in Canberra. Following a talk with Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates
    John Dowling Coates
    John Dowling Coates AC is an Australian lawyer, sports administrator and businessman.He is a member of the International Olympic Committee and is the current president of the Australian Olympic Committee and chairman of the Australian Olympic Foundation.- Personal :Born in Sydney, the son of a...

    , Ambassador Zhang subsequently said that his statement had been "misinterpreted". Coates said that the flame attendants were "technical assistants", and re-iterated that they would play no security role. Shortly before the beginning of the Canberra relay, Australian and Chinese officials argued in public over the role of the flame attendants, during a press conference. Beijing spokesman Qu Yingpu stated that the attendants' role included security, a claim immediatedly rejected by Australian Capital Territory
    Australian Capital Territory
    The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

     Chief Minister Jon Stanhope
    Jon Stanhope
    Jonathan Ronald Stanhope is a former Australian politician who was Labor Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory from 2001 to 2011. Stanhope represented the Ginninderra electorate in the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1998 until 2011. He resigned as Chief Minister on 12 May 2011 and as...

    , who, sitting a few metres from Qu and "clearly furious" according to the Herald Sun
    Herald Sun
    The Herald Sun is a morning tabloid newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia. It is published by The Herald and Weekly Times, a subsidiary of News Limited, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation. It is available for purchase throughout Melbourne, Regional Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital...

    , re-iterated once more that Australian police would handle all security. The International Olympic Committee
    International Olympic Committee
    The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

     subsequently backed Australia's position, with IOC president Jacques Rogge
    Jacques Rogge
    Jacques Rogge, Count Rogge , is a Belgian sports bureaucrat. He is the eighth and current President of the International Olympic Committee .-Life and career:...

     stating: "The sovereignty of Australia is absolute; security is a matter for Australia, it is not a matter for these people, that is very clear." During the relay itself, three Chinese guards nonetheless attempted to run alongsided the torchbearers, and were repeatedly pulled away by Australian police.


IOC Response
In response to these controversies, the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 noted on April 9 that the Protection Unit's role is "100% normal...The torch relay escort team is always supplied by the organising committee of the Games... there is nothing unusual about it". The Chinese government has also responded to the criticism, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu stating: "Relevant countries should have a clear understanding of the rules of the escorts and understand their work. They have used their bodies to protect the torch, so their acts should be praised and the violent acts of those Tibet independence elements be condemned." Also, according to British journalist Brendan O’Neill, there is nothing mysterious about the security-service employees of the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee. O'Neill reported presence of foreign security officials in the UK and their duty to guard foreign embassies and protect visiting foreign dignitaries. During the 2004 Olympic torch relay
2004 Olympic Torch Relay
The 2004 Summer Olympics Torch Relay took the Olympic flame across every habitable continent, returning to Athens, Greece. Every city which had hosted the Summer Olympics was revisited by the torch, as well as several other cities chosen for their international importance.The relay was the first...

, Greek security officials followed and monitored the movement of the Olympic flame.

Reactions


In China, a call to boycott French hypermart Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 from May 1 began spreading through mobile text messaging
Text messaging
Text messaging, or texting, refers to the exchange of brief written text messages between fixed-line phone or mobile phone and fixed or portable devices over a network...

 and online chat rooms amongst the Chinese over the weekend from April 12, accusing the company's major shareholder, the LVMH
LVMH
LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A., better known as LVMH, is a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris, Île-de-France, France. The company was formed after the 1987 merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Moët Hennessy, a company formed after the 1971 merger...

 Group, of donating funds to the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

. There were also calls to extend the boycott to include French luxury goods and cosmetic products. Chinese protesters organized boycotts of the French-owned retail chain Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 in major Chinese cities including Kunming
Kunming
' is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. It was known as Yunnan-Fou until the 1920s. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government...

, Hefei
Hefei
Hefei is the capital and largest city of Anhui Province in Eastern China. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, and cultural centre of Anhui...

 and Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

, accusing the French nation of pro-secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

ist conspiracy and anti-Chinese racism. Some burned French flags, some added Swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

(due to its conotaions with Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

) to the French flag, and spread short online messages calling for large protests in front of French consulates and embassy. Some shoppers who insisted on entering one of the Carrefour stores in Kunming were blocked by boycotters wielding large Chinese flags
Flag of the People's Republic of China
The flag of the People's Republic of China is a red field charged in the canton with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly...

 and hit by water bottles. Hundreds of people joined Anti-French rallies in Beijing, Wuhan, Hefei, Kunming and Qingdao
Qingdao
' also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.It borders Yantai to the...

, which quickly spread to other cities like Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

, Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

 and Jinan
Jinan
Jinan is the capital of Shandong province in Eastern China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilisation and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub...

. Carrefour denied any support or involvement in the Tibetan issue, and had its staff in its Chinese stores wear uniforms emblazoned with the Chinese national flag and caps with Olympic insignia and as well as the words "Beijing 2008" to show its support for the games. The effort had to be ceased when the BOCOG deemed the use of official Olympic insignia as illegal and a violation of copyright.
In response to the demonstrations, the Chinese government attempted to calm the situation, possibly fearing the protests may spiral out of control as has happened in recent years, including the anti-Japanese protests in 2005. State media and commentaries began to call for calm, such as an editorial in the People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

which urged Chinese people to "express [their] patriotic enthusiasm calmly and rationally, and express patriotic aspiration in an orderly and legal manner". The government also began to patrol and censor the internet forums such as Sohu.com
Sohu
Sohu.com, Inc. is a search engine company headquartered in the Sohu.com Internet Plaza in Haidian District, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. This company and its subsidiaries offer advertising, a search engine, on-line multiplayer gaming and other services. For the fiscal year ended December...

, with comments related to the Carrefour boycott removed. In the days prior to the planned boycott, evidence of efforts by Chinese authorities to choke the mass boycott's efforts online became even more evident, including barring searches of words related to the French protests, but protests broke out nonetheless in front of Carrefour's stores at Beijing, Changsha, Fuzhou
Fuzhou
Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province, People's Republic of China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong linguistic and cultural area....

 and Shenyang
Shenyang
Shenyang , or Mukden , is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Currently holding sub-provincial administrative status, the city was once known as Shengjing or Fengtianfu...

 on May 1.

Pro-China rallies and demonstrations were held in several cities in response to the relay protests, including Paris, London, Berlin and Los Angeles.

In Japan, the Mayor of Nagano
Nagano, Nagano
, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture, is located in the northern part of the prefecture near the confluence of the Chikuma and the Sai rivers, on the main Japanese island of Honshū.As of April 1, 2011 the city has a population of 387,146...

, Shoichi Washizawa said that it has become a "great nuisance" for the city to host the torch relay prior to the Nagano leg. Washizawa's aides said the mayor's remark was not criticism about the relay itself but about the potential disruptions and confusion surrounding it. A city employee of the Nagano City Office ridiculed the protests in Europe, he said "They are doing something foolish", in a televised interview. Nagano City officially apologized later and explained what he had wanted to say was "Such violent protests were not easy to accept".
Also citing concerns about protests as well as the recent violence in Tibet, a major Buddhist temple in Nagano cancelled its plans to host the opening stage of the Olympic torch relay, this temple was vandalised by an un-identified person the day after in apparent revenge,

See also

  • 2004 Summer Olympics torch relay
  • 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
    2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
    The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route...

  • 2008 Summer Paralympics torch relay
    2008 Summer Paralympics Torch Relay
    The torch relay for the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games was held between August 28 and September 6 in eleven cities, and also included the tomb of Yellow Emperor.- Planned Route :In 2007, the BOCOG announced the torch relay route, composed of three parts:...


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