17 May 2022.

Olympic torch will reach Everest, says China

By  Unsigned,   Thursday, 20 March 2008

Organisers of the Beijing Olympics have confirmed they want the torch relay to go to the top of Mount Everest as planned.

This is despite calls by Tibetan exiles to stop the relay going through Tibet because of China's crackdown on pro-independence protestors.

China's government has already ordered the Nepal authorities to ban mountain climbers from scaling Everest in the spring in case protestors set up camp. This has not stopped Tibetan activists demonstrating outside the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.

The torch relay will be the longest in Olympic history and is expected to pass through 19 countries.

Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice president of the Beijing organising committee, told a news conference that the Tibet leg of the torch relay will proceed as scheduled.

"We know the incidents are the last thing we want to see, but we firmly believe that the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region will be able ... to ensure the smooth going of the torch relay in Tibet," he stated.

The protests in Tibet and neighbouring regions controlled by the Chinese have been the biggest challenge to the central government since the build-up to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.