Beijing Olympics


No Plans to Halt Torch Relay Despite ‘Crisis’

April 10, 2008 06:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said there are no plans to shorten the relay, but incensed Beijing by describing an Olympic “crisis.”

30-Second Summary

The Olympic torch will head to Buenos Aires, Argentina, today after the cancellation of yesterday’s closing ceremonies in San Francisco.

Thousands of demonstrators protesting China’s human rights record, and the Tibetan flag’s appearance on the Golden Gate Bridge, marked the northern California leg of the global relay.

City authorities tried to outwit protesters by changing the torch’s route at the last minute. However, that “meant that the torch slipped through the back streets of the city, unseen by the thousands of spectators who had turned out to watch its progress,” Radio Free Europe reports.

The disarray in San Francisco followed protests in both Paris and London.

IOC President Rogge said the games were in a “crisis,” though he did not announce any plans to shorten the torch’s world tour.

Beijing said Rogge’s declaration was overstated, asserting that he should “stay out of politics.”

China has hired a public relations firm to boost its image, according to the International Herald Tribune. But the paper argues that it won’t do China any good unless it takes significant steps to improve its human rights record.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have already indicated they will not attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing, while George W. Bush has not acceded to Hillary Clinton’s calls for a boycott.

Not everyone thinks a boycott would be an effective way to improve China's human rights record. The Wall Street Journal argues it would only alienate China.

Headline Links: Rogge and Beijing exchange words

Background: Protests in Paris and London

Opinion & Analysis: Debating the merits of the torch relay, protests and China’s image

Historical Context: ‘If You Want to Know a Secret …’

Reference: The 2008 Olympic torch itinerary


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