Tibetan Chinese official vows security for Olympic torch relay

March 28th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by admin  

Lhasa, March 28 (Xinhua) A top Tibetan Chinese official has pledged the security of the Olympic torch relay within the region and the planned ascent of the flame to the top of the Mount Qomolangma (Everest). “To our knowledge, some separatists from within and outside China are seeking to sabotage the Olympic torch relay within Tibet. We are confident and capable of ensuring the security of the relay and taking it to the top of the peak,” said Baema Chilain, vice-chairman of the Tibetan regional government, at a news conference.

The flame was lit Monday at the Hera Temple, in Olympia, and the torch will travel through Greece for seven days and arrive in Beijing March 31. The 137,000-kilometre relay will cover 134 cities on five continents starting April 1 and ending Aug 8 at the main Olympic stadium in Beijing.

The Tibetan official also said Thursday the Lhasa riot March 14 was aimed at “sabotaging” the upcoming Olympics. Eighteen civilians and one police officer died in the violence.

Chilain said the monks at the Zhaibung Monastery, Gandan Monastery, the Sera Monastery and the Jokhang Temple were being temporarily confined to the premises as the authorities were investigating allegations that some of them led or participated in the violence.

“Tibetan monks are also citizens, and they should abide by the law,” he said.

Chilain also said tourists groups are still not advised to visit Tibet, due to the after-effects of the March 14 violence, but he assured the plateau region is open to the outside world.

“The violence caused damages to the tourism, but such damages would only be short term effect. We will not let this single incident undermine the development and the stability of Tibet,” he added.

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