China puts Olympic flame on Everest

  • China has succeeded in its goal of putting the Olympic flame on the summit of Everest.
At 9.18am local time, Tsering Wangmu, a Tibetan, completed an unprecedented mini-relay that covered the last 30 yards.

Live pictures broadcast on Chinese state television showed her heavily wrapped against strong winds and gasping for breath.

When the flame was 30 yards from the top, a specially designed torch, engineered to withstand the low-oxygen conditions and high winds, was lit.

It then passed through five pairs of hands – three Tibetan and two Han Chinese, to symbolise the Chinese nation's "unity" – culminating in Tsering Wangmu's.

Members of the team were seen shouting "We are on top of the world" and "One World, One Dream", the official slogan of the Beijing Olympics.

When she reached the top, they unfurled a banner saying: "Welcome the whole world to this great Beijing Olympic Games" and shouted: "Long live Tibet. Long live Beijing."

The Chinese government will hope that the image will banish the memory of the pro-Tibet protesters who disrupted earlier legs of the tour in London, Paris and San Francisco.

The climb to the top of the 29,028ft mountain was delayed by bad weather and shrouded in some secrecy even from the select group of journalists allowed to cover it from a specially constructed cabin near base camp.

Li Zhixin, the commander of the expedition, apologised for keeping the public in the dark until after the final assault began.

"We didn't have any choice," he said.

"I can tell you there are people still out there trying to interfere with the event.

"Our climbing torch bearers found their tracks and saw their lights up there on our routes."

He did not explain further.


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