Tibet plans its own Olympics

Tibetans in exile will host their own version of the Olympics, as China completely ignored Monday's protest interruption to its Olympic torch ceremony.

Three men from a media rights group breached tight security around Ancient Olympia in Greece on Monday to unfurl a flag demanding a boycott of the Olympics, in a huge embarrassment for both Greece and China.

But state-controlled Chinese newspapers made no mention of the disruption yesterday, instead running a slew of stories declaring the ceremony a success. The China Daily called it, "A perfect start on the road to gold".

Chinese viewers would not have seen the protest as state television broadcast the ceremony on a delay, cutting away as the protesters appeared just when China's top Olympic official was giving a speech.

Tibetans in exile announced a special event to highlight their people's plight under Chinese rule.

The "Tibetan Olympics 2008" will be held from May 15-25 in Dharamsala, India - home of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and headquarters of his government-in-exile.

"This will highlight the plight of Tibetan people living in Tibet and in exile," organiser Lobsang Wangyal said.

Organisers would select 15 male and female athletes between 15 and 30 to take part in the games, which would include track and field, swimming, shooting and archery, he said.

As pressure to disrupt the August games intensified, a mob wielding stones and knives reportedly killed a police officer in a Tibetan part of Western China, a sign of continuing unrest despite a huge influx of police and troops.

There were also reports Chinese paramilitary police opened fire on hundreds of monks, nuns and Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in the same region.

In Tibet's capital, Lhasa, 13 people were arrested for a monk-led protest on March 10, the first announcement of consequences for those involved in that largely peaceful march.

The march came on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese Communist rule, days before the rioting and looting that authorities said killed at least 19 people shook Lhasa.

China's assertion that protests have since faded after a massive influx of troops across Tibet and nearby areas was shaken when state media announced the death of the police officer in a fresh riot.

Several other officers were wounded in the clash, which ended when police opened fire.

"The police were forced to fire warning shots, and dispersed the lawless mobsters," the brief official report said. It did not say if the attackers were Tibetan or whether any protesters were hurt or killed.

Foreign journalists have been prevented by officials from freely going to the area and could not verify the reports.

Pro-Tibet sources say 140 people have been confirmed killed in the Chinese crackdown.

Copyright © 2008 Herald Sun

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