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Factbox: Olympic torch's trip to Tibet
June 21, 2008 16:26 IST
The Olympic torch passed through Tibet's [Images] capital Lhasa on Saturday for a one-day stop China hopes will showcase a calm city firmly back in the national fold three months after anti-Chinese protests in the remote region.
Here is a Q and A on the political background.
WHY IS THE TIBET TRIP SO SENSITIVE?
* Tibetan activists have opposed the torch's visit since the route was announced in April 2007, saying it legitimises and symbolises Chinese rule over the Himalayan region.
* Tensions rose after several days of protests in Lhasa turned violent from March 14, with shops torched and cars overturned. The unrest spilled over into neighbouring provinces with Tibetan populations, and thousands of Chinese troops poured in.
* Chinese authorities say 19 people died in the March 14-15 Lhasa rioting, though exiles put the number much higher.
WHAT WAS THE FALL-OUT?
* China blamed exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama [Images] for masterminding the unrest. He denied the accusations and said he would resign if the violence spread.
* International leaders called for the Dalai Lama's envoys and Chinese officials to resume dialogue. In early May, China surprised observers by holding talks, the seventh such gathering since 2002, but no consensus was either expected or arrived at.
WHAT'S THE LINK TO THE TORCH?
* The crackdown on Tibetan protesters came just before the Olympic flame started its month-long international journey on March 24, sparking global anti-China demonstrations.
* The relay descended into chaos in cities such as London [Images] and Paris as protesters opposing China's policy in Tibet tried to grab the torch and snuff out the flame.
WAS THE TIBET TORCH ROUTE CHANGED?
* The initial three-day, June 19-21, Tibet leg was reduced to one day as part of a larger reshuffle following neighbouring Sichuan's devastating earthquake.
* On May 8, a second flame reached the summit of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest [Images], as scheduled, carried by climbers from the Tibet side of the mountain that borders Nepal.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN TIBET NOW?
* Rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that more than 1,000 people are still detained without charge after the Tibet riots. China's Foreign Ministry dismissed the group and the report.
* Access for foreign media remains tightly controlled.
IS MORE TROUBLE EXPECTED?
* The prospect of activists unfurling Tibetan flags or staging other embarrassing stunts during the August 8-24 Games is one Beijing's [Images] security apparatus aims to prevent.