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China thanks India for trouble-free torch relay
Raghavendra in Beijing | April 18, 2008 16:31 IST
Relieved at the trouble-free Olympic torch relay in New Delhi, China on Friday appreciated the great efforts made by the Indian government, for its smooth run.
"China expresses its thanks for the warm support and participation of the Indian people and the great efforts by the Indian side," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson's office told PTI, a day after the relay passed off under a massive security cover in New Delhi.
Beijing [Images] was anxious about the smooth passage of the relay in India, home to an estimated population of 150,000 Tibetans living in exile, who have been staging repeated protests to draw global attention to alleged repression in Tibet [Images], ahead of the Beijing Olympics [Images] in August.
Disruptions of the relay in London [Images] and Paris, hide and seek game in San Francisco and repeated attempts by Tibetan protesters to breach the security in the Chinese embassy had added anxiety and worry to China, which had maintained constant contact with the Indian government.
The state-run media hailed the smooth run of the relay, with the China Daily saying the Indian capital welcomed the Olympic torch with traditional pomp and pageantry. It carried on its front page a photograph of actor Amir Khan running with the torch.
It also published on another page a photo of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee Vice President Jiang Xiaoyu passing the torch to its first bearer Suresh Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association.
The state-run China Central Television also featured the New Delhi relay as top headline in its prime international news bulletin on Thursday night.
The state media highlighted the presence of Bollywood stars Amir Khan and Saif Ali Khan [Images], tennis doubles pair Leander Paes [Images] and Mahesh Bhupati and legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh.
Global Times, a publication of People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China, published the story saying, "Tibetan separatist forces were frustrated and the Western media was disappointed at the smooth passing off of the relay".
The Western media has been under persistent attack in China over their alleged biased and distorted coverage of the unrest in Tibet.
In its dispatch from New Delhi, official Xinhua news agency said the Indian government attached great importance to the security of the relay after the disruptions in Paris and London.
It also quoted spokesman for the Olympic torch relay Qu Yingpu as saying that the relay went off well and "we convey our sincere thanks to the Indian government, Delhi government, the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian people".
"The Indian torch bearers... transferred the Olympic spirit of peace, friendship and progress. We believe today will be a day unforgettable for them, and also for us," he said.