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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Torch Completes Malaysia Leg

April 22, 2008

Associated Press
April 21, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The Olympic torch was carried through
blistering sun, torrential rain and isolated protests in Malaysia on
Monday, completing another segment of its round-the-world relay that has
become a magnet for protests against China's crackdown in Tibet.

A Japanese brother and sister and the woman's 5-year-old boy were
heckled and roughed up by Chinese nationals when they unfurled a Tibetan
flag before the start of the heavily guarded relay in downtown Kuala
Lumpur. Police detained the Japanese but released them without charges
after about six hours. The Chinese weren't detained.

At one point in the relay a Western man wearing a T-shirt reading
"Beijing Tortures Human Rights" rushed forward shouting "Shame, shame,
shame." He was hustled away by police but not arrested. A British woman
wearing a "Free Tibet" T-shirt and a foreign Buddhist monk were also
detained and released after a few hours.

Criticism of China's human rights record has turned the Olympic torch
run into one of the most contentious in recent history. Protests dogged
the relay during its stops in Paris, London, Athens and San Francisco,
with demonstrators protesting China's crackdown on anti-government riots
in Tibet.

Security concerns have forced authorities in Indonesia, Australia and
Japan -- the torch's coming stops -- to change or shorten their routes.
The only serious incident marring the 10-mile run in Malaysia involved
the Japanese family, whom hundreds of Chinese nationals confronted at
Independence Square where the relay began. Some Chinese hit the Japanese
with inflated plastic batons that were intended for banging together in
noisy celebration.

Some of the Chinese shouted "Taiwan and Tibet belong to China" during
the melee but no one was hurt. The Chinese -- many wearing red --
carried their country's flag and waved banners that read: "The torch
will spread around the world," and "No one can split China." Kuala
Lumpur police Chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said the Japanese unfurled a
Tibetan flag and a banner that read "Free Tibet" and were taken to a
police station "only for documentation." They told reporters they were
residents of Malaysia, but didn't make further comments. The scuffle
took place about an hour before the start of the relay, which was
guarded by some 1,000 police.

The president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Imran Jaafar, set off
first with the torch, accompanied by uniformed policemen and motorcycle
outriders. As the relay progressed, the skies darkened and the city was
lashed by a torrential downpour. Still, the torch bearers plodded
through the puddles, accompanied by Chinese security personnel in blue
and white tracksuits. The torch ended at the Petronas Twin Towers in the
center of Kuala Lumpur after passing through the hands of 80 runners.

Its next stop is Jakarta, Indonesia, where a shortened, invitation-only
relay is to take place under heavy security Tuesday. The steps were
taken after pressure from the Chinese Embassy, organizing committee head
Sumohadi Marsis said Monday.

The event originally was to follow a route through the center of
Jakarta, but instead will take place on streets outside a sports
stadium, he said. Members of the public will be barred from attending.

Organizers of the Australian leg also said Monday the route there had
been shortened by 2.5 miles to avoid some central, narrow streets where
protests could be a problem.
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