Organizers of the Beijing Olympics hold a press conference in Beijing, March 19, 2008. They said on Wednesday that the torch relay of this summer's games will go ahead as planned despite concerns over security in Tibet following a recent riot in this region.(Xinhuanet/Zhang Yong)
BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Organizers of the Beijing Olympics said on Wednesday that the torch relay of this summer's games will go ahead as planned despite concerns over security in Tibet following a recent riot in this region.
"The Tibet leg of the torch relay will proceed as scheduled," Jiang Xiaoyu, the executive vice president for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), told a press conference.
"We firmly believe that the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region will be able to ensure the stability of Tibet and also the smooth going of the torch relay in Tibet," he said.
A handful of lawless people, chanting separatist slogans in downtown Lhasa, burnt civilian houses and shops, destroyed vehicles, killed 13 innocent people, and seriously injured a dozen of law-enforcers, according to veteran Tibetan official Ragdi.
The sacred flame will be lit in Greece on Monday and will arrive in China on March 31 when a grand ceremony will be held at Tiananmen Square. The 137,000-kilometer relay will cover 134 cities on five continents starting on April 1, ending on Aug. 8 at the main Olympic stadium in Beijing.
Jiang also reiterated China's stance that it is unacceptable to link politics to the Olympic Games, saying the Chinese organizers believe that there would be no major boycott of the sporting event.
"The Olympics should not be politicized... Boycotting the Games goes against the spirit of the Olympic Movement," he said.
"It is only an attempt of a few people and organizations. We do believe that the majority of the people around the world will make the right decision and participate in the Olympic Games and also the opening ceremony."