Tibetan Olympic torch relay arriving in Taipei tomorrow

FREE SPIRIT: Organized by Tibetans in exile, the torch represents their commitment to the pursuit of peace, harmony and struggle for freedom

By Loa Iok-sin, STAFF REPORTER

The Tibetan Olympic torch relay, which started in Delhi, India, last month, will pass through Taipei tomorrow. The torch is scheduled to pass through 10 cities across five continents before reaching the seat of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, India.

"The Tibetan Olympics is organized by young Tibetans in exile to show the Tibetans' determination to pursue peace and harmony as represented by the Olympic spirit," said Li Jieh-mei, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation. "They also want to mobilize international support for their struggle for freedom, human rights and the right to participate in international sports events."

The foundation, along with the Tibetans in Taiwan and Taiwan Friends of Tibet, has organized a ceremony to welcome the torch.

The Tibetan Olympics will be held from May 15 to May 25 in Dhramshala, Li said.

The Taipei leg of the torch relay will start at 10am tomorrow in front of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, with Miss Tibet 2006 Tsering Chungtak leading a symbolic run around the memorial hall, Li said.

Chungtak took part in the Miss Tourism Queen contest in Malaysia last year. However, she withdrew from the contest in protest, as the organizer asked her to wear a sash that read "Miss Tibet-China."

Dhundup Gyalpo, a Tibetan who is studying at National Chengchi University, is very excited about the torch relay.

"For Tibetans around the world, [the Tibetan Olympics and the torch relay] are opportunities to show not only our love for sports, but the Tibetan spirit in fighting against China," he told the Taipei Times during a telephone interview.

Furthermore, he believed that Tibetans should also "take the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to highlight Tibetan issues, such as [China's] violation of human rights in Tibet and [its use of] torture," he said.

Copyright © 2008 Taipei Times

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Taipei Times – http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ archives/2008/02/23/2003402473
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