Beijing will have Tibetans carry the torch on Everest
The Chinese government confirms: among the 50 climbers who will carry the Olympic symbol to the roof of the world, there will also be Tibetans. The climb should begin on May 5, while envoys from the Dalai Lama are arriving in Beijing to find a "common solution" to the crisis of Tibet.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - There will also be Tibetans among  the climbers who will carry the controversial Olympic torch to the peak of Mount Everest.  This is confirmed by the Chinese government, according to which this "is a collective job. Nobody can do it alone".  In the meantime, the two envoys of the Dalai Lama have left Dharamsala for Beijing, where they will meet with communist leaders to find a "common solution" to the crisis of Tibet.

Zhang Zhijian, spokesman of the group of Chinese climbers charged with taking the torch up the Himalayas, says: "we have adequate personnel for any eventuality, and among these there are Tibetans, Han [editor's note: the ethnicity to which the majority of the Chinese population belong] and members of other minorities".  There are meteorologists in the group, the omnipresent security guards (necessary to guarantee that the Olympic symbol is not damaged) and a television crew.  The Chinese government is, in fact, seeking to remove all foreign journalists from the area, giving coverage of the event to its own journalists.

Before facing the climb, the torch will be replaced with a copy, designed to resist the unique climatic conditions of the mountain range.  According to the plans, the climb should begin next May 5.  At the same time, there will also be present on Everest the "torch of democracy", a copy of the Olympic symbol taken around the world by a group of Tibetan exiles as a sign of protest against the Chinese repression in Tibet.

The Indian and Nepalese governments, which accommodate most of the Tibetans who fled from the region after the revolts in 1959, have made efforts to block this demonstration - also opposed by the Dalai Lama - which nonetheless seems ready to ascend the mountain together with the original.  Kathmandu, which has aligned itself with Beijing on the Tibetan question, has sent select troops to the area with the order to shoot anyone who "threatens domestic security".  For its part, New Delhi has repeatedly arrested members of the Tibetan Youth Congress who have participated in the "march of return", which is seeking to reach Tibet on foot in conjunction with the beginning of the Olympics.

It is likely that the attitude of the exiles will be one of the topics discussed in the upcoming Chinese-Tibetan dialogue.  The Chinese government has not appreciated the protests that have been conducted all over the world during the passage of the torch, and it accuses the Dalai Lama of having fomented these.  The Buddhist leader has repeatedly rejected the accusation, expressing his personal closeness to the Games and to the Chinese population.

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