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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Security, secrecy shroud Olympic flame

June 18, 2008

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— Hundreds of security personnel lined the streets to head off any disruption as the Olympic torch relay resumed today in western China's restive Muslim region of Xinjiang.

Black-gloved security agents jogged alongside the torch as it wound through the streets of Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road city near the borders with Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Foreign journalists were not allowed along the route, where cheering bystanders shouted "Go China!" under sunny skies.

Also today, Olympic torch relay organizers said the flame will make a one-day stop in Tibet's capital of Lhasa on Saturday.

That leg has been shrouded in secrecy because of political sensitivities surrounding Tibet. The route has been criticized by Tibet activist groups who see it as an attempt by Beijing to symbolize its control over the Himalayan region.

China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans say their homeland was essentially independent for much of that time.

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