Olympic torch in Tibet amid tight security
Issued on: Modified:
Hand-picked Tibetan spectators cheered runners as they carried the Olympic torch through Lhasa, which ended in front of Dalai Lama's former residence. One day earlier, China released 1,157 people involved in the March riots.(Report:K.Williams)
The torch procession ended under tight security below the towering Potala palace after having been run for just over two hours before a carefully-selected crowd, some three months after the region was convulsed by bloody anti-Chinese protests.
"We will certainly be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique," he added.
The Beijing Games torch has never been far from controversy, and never more so than in its run through the streets of the 3,650-metre (12,000 feet) high city of
Police and troops lined the streets, closely watching the groups of residents chosen to cheer on the torch. Groups of students from
"We are convinced that the Beijing Olympic Games' torch relay in
But some students seemed hesitant in giving an answer when asked of the meaning of the torch passing through
"I'm not sure of the meaning," said one ethnic Tibetan student, who declined to be identified. "I guess it's the first time the torch relay has been held in
For many exiled Tibetans and human rights groups, the Lhasa torch relay serves as a reminder of
"This provocative decision -- with the blessing of the International Olympic Committee -- could aggravate tensions and undermine the fragile process to find a peaceful long-term solution for
But for many Chinese, outraged by the March unrest and then the protests against
"The torch is a symbol of
Baima Chilin, a vice chairman of
But he said he was sure the torch relay would not be troubled by protest, and called the relay a symbol of ethnic unity. "People of all ethnic groups in
The rings of security surrounding the torch were a constant reminder that even the government fears such joy is not universal.
Matt Whitticase of the London-based Free Tibet Campaign, which supports self-determination for the region, said making phone calls into
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe