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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Olympics: China prepares a show with 10,000 children, and a Tibet without Tibetans

March 14, 2008, Italy
March 13, 2008

The first details emerge about the opening ceremony: 10,000 children
from all over the world will laugh and sing together, a symbol of love
and hope. But Everest will be off limits to everyone when the torch
passes at 8,850 metres, to avoid showing pro-Tibet activists on

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A camera shot of more than 10,000 cute,
smiling children from all over the world will conclude the opening
ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on August 8, 2008, while a choir
will sing as a symbol and pledge of universal love and hope. Zhang
Yimou, the director of the ceremony, explains that the 50-minute show
will represent the most important moments in the 5,000 years of
Chinese history, but refuses to reveal other details.  The great fear
is over the rain: there is a 47 percent chance that the capital will
be soaked, although not too seriously.

Meanwhile, the organising committee for the Beijing games is
announcing various pre-Olympic events, intended to attract attention
and highlight the new facilities and efficient organisation.  There
will be a competitive marathon, possibly meant in part to quell the
controversy over the air quality in Beijing, and an athletic meeting
in the 'Bird's Nest' stadium, between the end of April and May.  But
there will also be a non-competitive course, with the least 20,000
citizens making the final lap in the stadium, to represent - according
to Sun Kanglin, head of the Beijing Municipal Sports Administration -
that these are the Olympics of the people.

Meanwhile, the people are "forbidden" from scaling the Chinese side of
Mount Everest: no permits are being granted for the period from April
to May, when the Olympic torch will climb to the roof of the world, at
8,850 metres of the elevation.  But the real objective of the decision
is to prevent the presence of pro-Tibet activists, with their banners
calling for civil and religious freedom, when television sets all over
the world carry the event.

John Ackerly, president of the group International Campaign for Tibet,
comments that "Beijing is using the Olympics torch ceremony, which
should stand for human freedoms and dignity, to bolster its
territorial claim over Tibet".
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