Olympic flame lands in China

Protests unlikely as relay reaches the mainland to start its journey across China.

    The torch's return to China has given the Chinese people a chance to celebrate in relative peace [AFP]

    Indeed, the weather could be the biggest threat to three month journey across China ahead of opening ceremony for the Beijing Games, with meteorologists expecting rain in the coming days.
     
    Troubled Torch

    March 24 - Human rights protesters breach security to try to disrupt the torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece

     

    March 30 - Tibet

    activists try to stop flame entering Athens

    stadium for handover to Chinese officials

     

    April 6 - Thousands of pro-Tibet protesters line relay route through London

    , scuffles break out with police and 35 are arrested

     

    April 7 – Flame extinguished at least twice during Paris

    relay, forcing the torch-carrier onto a bus to escape protesters

     

    April 9 - San Francisco

    abruptly changes torch route fearing clashes between pro-Tibet protesters and pro-China counter-protesters

     

    April 17New Delhi

    deploys 15,000 police and security guards during radically shortened relay through Indian capital. Dozens of Tibetan exiles arrested

     

    April 19 – 2,000 police protect Bangkok relay as crowd of about 200 China supporters taunt scores of pro-Tibet demonstrators

    Nevertheless, organisers and police in Sanya said that security measures were being taken for the torch's arrival but refused to give details.

    Media access to the torch's arrival was limited to three Chinese outlets.

    "Even if no police were here, we would protect the torch with our bodies!" an 18-year-old vendor selling Chinese flags near the stage where the torch was to be lit Sunday morning said.

    Basketball star Yi Jianlian and actor Jackie Chan were to be among the 208 people carrying the torch.
     
    In Macau on Saturday, pro-China supporters waved flags and chanted "Go, go Beijing".

    Columns of paramilitary police in sportswear jogged beside the torch bearers.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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