2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest


2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest

The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest is the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers were scheduled to reach Mt. Everest on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route. Another name for the climb is the Beijing Olympics Torch Relay Qomolangma Leg. [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/02/content_8091438.htm Team announced for Olympic flame's ascent of Mt. Qomolangma] , Xinhua. May 2, 2008.]

Planning

The unprecedented climb taking the Olympic torch to the summit of the world's tallest peak was a side spur of the main relay where a second torch was carried up the mountain while the main relay continued elsewhere in China. It was the most technically challenging leg of the entire torch relay. Aside from the physical difficulty of scaling the mountain, the torch that was used for the climb had to be specially designed to burn in a frigid, windy, oxygen-thin environment. [ [http://cbs.sportsline.com/worldsports/story/10806969 Olympic torch run at Mount Everest shrouded in secrecy] , CBS Sports. Accessed on April 30, 2008.]

Preparation

In April the Chinese government completed a blacktop highway to the Mount Everest base camp that will be used when the Olympic torch is taken to the peak. Workers spent 10 months widening, evening the surface of, and installing guardrails on the 67-mile road, the Xinhua News Agency said. "The upgraded highway ... will provide a safe path for drivers, tourists and mountaineers, and facilitate torchbearers (taking) the Olympic flame to the top of the world," the report said. Critics claim the highway, which begins in Tibet's Xigaze prefecture, will damage the permafrost in the ecologically fragile area. But officials said they had conducted a thorough study of the effects on the permafrost, and that the 150 million yuan (US$21.5 million, €13.5 million) project did not damage the environment. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/16/asia/AS-GEN-OLY-China-Mount-Everest-Road.php China completes blacktop road to Mt. Everest base camp ahead of Olympic torch ascent] , "International Herald Tribune".]

The Chinese government has said that the Everest event will be a show of international sportsmanship and national pride. "The torch relay to Mount Everest is a highlight of the whole relay, and it also represents the idea of green Olympics, high-tech Olympics and people's Olympics," Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Jingming said.

Resistance

The government of Nepal imposed a complete communication ban on journalists and ordered soldiers and police to set up camps on Mount Everest with permission to use force against pro-Tibet demonstrators "to stop any anti-Chinese activities" during the torch's climb to the summit. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7371402.stm Nepal bans reporting from Everest] , BBC.] "This could mean shooting if necessary," Home Ministry spokesman Mod Raj Dotel said. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/04/20/nepal.torch.oly Nepal: Everest pro-Tibet protesters may be shot] , CNN.]

Climb

On May 2, Zhang Zhijian, spokesman for the Chinese Mountaineering Team, announced that a team of 50 members would consist of mountaineers and officials of different ethnicities, though the date of the ascent or the exact numbers of torchbearers had not been determined. According to early reports, the ascent will begin from the Base Camp at 5,200 meters, and then head for the Advanced Base Camp at 6,500 meters. The ascent will then head toward the summit through three more high camps, respectively at 7,028, 7,790 and 8,300 meters before the team scales the top of Qomolangma. [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/02/content_8092611.htm Chinese mountaineers in progress of ascent of Olympic flame upon Qomolangma] , Xinhua. May 2, 2008.] On May 8, the Chinese Mountaineering Team successfully scaled the world's highest peak. A total of 36 torchbearers participated in the torch relay, 19 of them were selected for the final leg from the 8,300 meters base camp to the summit. The relay was televised live. [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/08/content_8126604.htm Chinese mountaineers carry Olympic flame to top of Mt. Qomolangma] , Xinhua. May 8, 2008.]

Criticism

On March 13, China announced it is restricting world mountaineers from climbing Everest and Cho Oyo over concerns that Tibet activists may try to disrupt plans for the climb. John Ackerly, president of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, criticized the climb as an attempt by the PRC to legitimize Chinese rule: "Beijing is using the Olympics torch ceremony, which should stand for human freedoms and dignity, to bolster its territorial claim over Tibet." [http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/china.everest.ap/index.html China closes its side of Everest to climbers] , CNN]

References

External links

* [http://torchrelay.beijing2008.cn/en/media/download5/photomay8z/ Torchrelay Beijing.cn (Photos)]


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