sharing the Olympic spirit

Olympic torch relay arrives at final stage of route
Updated: 2008-04-08 00:12


Liu Zijun, a Chinese student studying in Paris told Xinhua that the Beijing Olympic Games is a big event for China, she and her friends were very angry about the protests around the relay of the sacred fire.

"A majority of the French people are friendly towards China, but they have no knowledge about what really happened in Tibet and have been misled by some western media's distorted reports," Liu said, adding those media have played a "very bad role" in the matter.

Tens of thousands of spectators went to the street of Paris to watch the torch relay, which covers 28 kilometers starting the Eiffel Tower and ending at the Stade (Stadium) Charlety in the south of the city.

Many on-lookers waved Chinese flags to cheer the event or put flag stickers on the face.

One of them told Xinhua that some of the flags were hand-made by themselves or posted by their friends in China.

Spokesman of the torch relay center of the Beijing Olympic Organization Committee Qu Yingpu said that the torch relay started in Paris smoothly, but has encountered protests during the process. Due to technical and safety reasons, the relay team had to extinguish the flame three times and put the torch onto the bus before the relay was resumed towards the south of Paris.

On Sunday, he said that as the highest symbol of the Olympic spirit, the Olympic flame represents peace, friendship and progress. Under the authorization of the International Olympic Committee, the Beijing Olympic torch relay is taking its journey of harmony throughout the world, sharing the passion and glory of the Olympics with the world, and has received warm welcome from the people en route.

However, a few "pro-Tibet independence" activists have attempted to interrupt the torch relay during its journey in grave violation of the Olympic spirit, as the Olympic flame belongs to the world. The act will surely arouse resentment of the peace-loving people, and is bound to fail, he said.

The Beijing Olympic torch relay takes place on Monday in Paris, the fifth leg of its global tour.

The 2008 Olympic flame was ignited on March 24 in Ancient Olympia of Greece and was handed over to Beijing on March 31 after a six-day relay in Greece.

The 130-day torch relay will cover 137,000 km before the flame returns to Beijing and enters the National Stadium on August 8 for the Olympics' opening ceremony.

A total of 21,880 torch bearers will be participating in the unprecedented relay, which is held under the theme of "Journey of Harmony."

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