Changing China

Giant on the move

Day 14 – Mission accomplished

May 8, 2008


The Beijing Olympic torch is held aloft at the top of Mount Everest on Thursday in this image taken from television footage.

rtr20b7d_comp.jpg Three months to the day before the Games open, members of a 31-strong team reached the top of the 8,848-metre (29,030-ft) peak carrying the Olympic flame in a lantern before lighting the torch.

The climbing team, which included 22 Tibetans, eight Han Chinese and one man from the Tujia minority, had been on the mountain for more than a week preparing the route along the north-east ridge.

Take a look at Nick’s story about the moment so many Chinese have been waiting for.

But the trip is more than just another stopover on the Olympic torch’s journey around the world, read about the controversy and the deep symbolism surrounding the project.

rtr20b7f_comp.jpgOur Reuters team of Nick, Dave and Mark will be in touch with a us soon to give a personal account of today’s achievement.

You can also catch all the latest Olympics news at our website .

Pix: REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV.


Its a symbolic achievement for a great nation – China, and we in India congratulate you!
Honestly all the reasons for controversy surrounding the torch is China’s internal matter. Since I dont live in China I am not qualified to comment on whats going on in China. Its easy for me to comment and be judgemental which is unfair sitting here in India. Someone might say ‘ But we live in an electronic age where it does not matter where you stay on the planet.’ Let me tell them believe me but there is a HUGE difference between experiential and intellectual knowledge. Its like describing a piece of cake and eating it. The two are incomparable. China is best experienced by the Chinese people, and they decide whats best for them. Who the hell am I to tell them. Paradoxical but where is the modern world freedom we so much cherish, when every joe is telling China what to do. Come on man would you like to be told the do and donts inside your own house. Are we really practicing ‘FREEDOM’. I think this is worse behavior control than the so-called ‘controls’ of the Chinese government, which is just a reaction to the constant prying by the ‘International Community’ into China’s house. And you know what that is called, ‘an invasion of privacy’ on a world scale. And I am sure any reasonable freedom of whatever loving person would agree. So folks lets leave China to decide what to do with China and lets take part and share in their great moment of achievement and glory.

@Chinese people – You may have misgivings about India helping Tibetans. That is understandable. Let me try to give you an ordinary Indian’s perpective and understanding of the situation: Tibetans have been granted asylum in our country because they came here because of trouble in their homeland. We have given them shelter, because we understand that like in a family members fight but finally unite, Tibetans will return to China. Its good that China is talking to the Dalai Lama. He is after all still an important member of your family.

And it is my hope that India and China can live in peace as neighbors with a negotiated and settled boundary! There are exciting times ahead for us both!! Lets not miss it!!!

Posted by sanjay | Report as abusive

I’m sure the Chinese were very happy to have such cloud cover at the “summit”.The fact that it was so cloudy prevented any photos to accurately show if they actually got to the summit. Who knows how high they really got up the mountain? I saw one photo that appeared to have a grouping of prayer flags in the background. The summit is so small and the conditions at the summit are so severe that prayer flags would be obliterated in a short period of time if they were planted at the summit.And these minions who were on the climb certainly wouldn’t be carrying any prayer flags. Shame on you China !!!


Mr.Thompson, you sound like very jealous person and try to spread hate to anything Chinese does.

Before you shamed on anything, you shamed yourself!

Posted by grace | Report as abusive

Yeah, Randy Thompson is right. Chinese have never sent people into space. Chinese have never explored nuclear bombs. They have secret dirty ‘Hollywood’ studios to make such films. The only real things about China are pollutions, poisonous toys, vicious CCP and poor people. Please, Americans, help China! Are you feeling good now, Mr. Thompson?

Posted by lt@sc | Report as abusive

Mr. Thompson, please come and save us Chinese. The whole nation is waiting for the west to rescue. We don’t want the Olympics anymore, we won’t watch our CCTV anymore. All we trust in is your western world, your western media. I’m waiting for you here in Beijing to unveal the lies made by China. Satisfied now, Mr. Thompson?

Posted by Yuan | Report as abusive

Yep. This looks fishy to me. The whole closing the mountain thing, too. Reeks of typical communist propaganda. Who would dare to really be on the summit if it really looked like that out?

Posted by I can spot a fake | Report as abusive

To Mr. “I can spot a fake”

Please use your brain and eyes to find the truth before making such a post. Don’t make your eyes and brain as a tool for your perjudice

Posted by Zhuang | Report as abusive

To me, the only culture in the world that can compete with the Chinese culture in depth and richness is the Indian culture. What I’m saying is that the Chinese culture and history runs very deep and I’m in awe.I also embrace the Chinese people I know here in the USA and I have affinity for the Chinese people I’ve met while traveling to Tibet on two occasions. However, I still feel the torch run to the summit of Everest to be a cheap publicity stunt by the Chinese Government. The entire torch run episode has been a public relations nightmare for the Chinese Regime.More publicity has come out about the cultural genocide in Tibet than has ever happened before.This is the last thing the Chinese Government has wanted to happen.With that in mind, the torch’s failure to reach the summit of Everest would be a proposition that absolutely would not have been allowed by the Chinese Government.Whether the torch actually made it or not isn’t my point.My point is that this terrible regime would not have allowed failure.So, the arrival of the torch at the “summit” during a virtual white-out was very helpful in claiming success and avoiding losing face.
In addition,I have traveled through many parts of Tibet as well as Ladakh in Northern India.Ladakh is known as “Little Tibet”, and has a thriving,intact Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is eye-opening and heart-breaking to compare the Tibetan’s oppressive and restrictive life in Tibet proper as opposed to the religious and cultural freedom the Indian Government allows in Ladakh.


Randy, please describe to us how “Tibetan’s oppressive and restrictive life in Tibet proper as opposed to the religious and cultural freedom the Indian Government allows in Ladakh.” What do you see are considered as “Tibetan’s oppressive and restrictive life in Tibet proper”? and what do you see as “the religious and cultural freedom the Indian Government allows in Ladakh.”

Posted by zhang | Report as abusive

The first difference I’ve found in Tibet proper, is the total and complete absence of photos in residences and monasteries of the Dalai Lama. His mere photograph is banned throughout Tibet and even tourist’s luggage is inspected upon entering the country to make sure no one is carrying photos of him.There is no such restriction in Ladakh and his photograph is displayed throughout every monastery I visited in Ladakh. Of course in Tibet there are hardly any monasteries left. Of the 6,254 monasteries in Tibet, all but 12 were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.Some have been and are being rebuilt, the reason being that the Chinese Government sees it as a means to promote tourism.Also, any monasteries in Tibet are severely restricted as to the number of monks they allow in the monasteries and their religious freedom is severely restricted. A number of times and in a number of monasteries in Tibet I had monks pull me around the corner,handing me notes written in English, begging for help in escaping. During the Cultural Revolution many Han Chinese lost their life as well.All Tibetans receive second class medical care, jobs, and education.Of course, “True Believers”, with their zenophobic brain-washing will discount the Dalai Lama and these other truths about what has happened and is happening in Tibet.Fortunately, the whole world is finding out about this great tragedy on a defenseless culture.Once again, the Chinese people and their culture is one of the richest in the history of the world.The Chinese Government is one of the worst in the history of the world.


I can understand the first difference you said. I agree that certain amount of monks will feel disturbed and sad that they can not own Dalai’s photos. But you should notice that even if China is a democratic country now, his photos may still be banned. I think the reason that his photos are banned even now, is because he is seeking political power meanwhile is regarded as a religous leader. Few Chinese will allow the politics to be controlled by religion. We welcome Dalai be back as the religous leader. But if he is seeking political power, that’s another story. What will European do if pope wants to rule Europe? If a religous leader uses his religous influences to involve in politics, how disastrous will it be. So, if China is a democratic country now, do you think Chinese will allow Dalai to have political power now?

About monastery destruction happened in Cultural Revolution, that’s a national disaster rather than a regional (Tibet) disaster. During that period, almost all the temples, monasteries, churches all over China were destroyed. I agree that the Chinese government during that period of time was one of the worst in the world.

But we are happy to see that many monasteries and temples have been or are being rebuilt. I don’t think it’s sensitive to accuse that as a way to “promote tourism”. Tourism is just a byproduct of that. How many monasteries which were rebuilt attract lots of tourists and how many of them do not? How much money does the central government get by “promoting tourism” there? Zero. Even if tourism benefits from that, it only benefits the local Tibetan people. What’s bad about that?

Also I don’t think there is anything wrong with restricting the number of monks in each monastery. Each monastery has certain limited capacities. Don’t schools or churches in Europe and USA also limit the number of attendents. Also monastery is different from church. In church’s life, people just gather on Sunday morning. But in monastery’s life, all the monks will live there for their whole life. If the monastery is overcrowded, there maybe another accusation aganst China. But as more monasteries are being rebuilt, I think the problem will ease in the future.

Please explain how there religious freedom is severely restricted, except that they may not worship Dalai freely.

For “A number of times and in a number of monasteries in Tibet I had monks pull me around the corner,handing me notes written in English, begging for help in escaping.”, I don’t have comments. Does the notes say how you can help them escape? I don’t know why they came to you for help. You were just a tourist there and you knew much less than them about Tibet. I don’t understand why they think you are the one to help them escape….

Don’t say that the Chinese who do not like Dalai are brainwashed. Most educated Chinese know that Chinese media lies in certain aspects and we educated Chinese know how to filter out false information coming from the media. I read little information from the government about Tibet. I mainly get information from the 3rd party scholars, who lived in Tibet for years. I tried to read some information from Tibet government in exile. But I just found that lots of information there is really funny and ridiculous, full of ridiculous exaggeration. I do not think Dalai as a very bad guy as described by the government, nor do I think he is a great person,—-holy…. He is just a normal person, who has his own desire. He is just a religous leader, not a god.

BTW, what do you mean by “All Tibetans receive second class medical care, jobs, and education.” Is that because the medical care, jobs and educationi that Tibetans receive are not good enough? If so, that’s why central government spends billions of money in Tibet to build hospitals, schools all over Tibet. That’s why central government builds railway there to bring more goods and turists to Tibet. But certainly, somebody accused that as cultural genocide. See what Dalai said about the railway in Tibet: The Dalai Lama accused Beijing today of using a new railway link to flood Tibet with beggars, prostitutes and the unemployed, destroying its culture and traditions. ‘The railway link is a real danger,’ said the spiritual leader…. ‘Beggars, handicapped people are coming. Their number is huge. Also jobless people facing difficulty in Chinese mainland are coming to Lhasa,’ he told a religious gathering in the Indian city of Mumbai….The Dalai Lama said Beijing was forcing poor villagers to relocate to Tibet and was also sending uneducated young girls from the countryside to be ‘inducted as prostitutes’ in Lhasa. ‘Therefore, that is increasing the danger of AIDS,’ he said.” ———–What’s that? A normal human being’s comments?

Now Tibetan’s income increases over 10% each year during the past decades. I don’t agree that Chinese Government now is still one of the worst in the world. If one of the worst government in the world can grow its economy over 10% each year, the earth will be like a heaven already.

Posted by zhang | Report as abusive

I really doubt whether this Mr Thompson has been to Tibet or not. He says there’s hardly seen any pictures/photos of Dalai Lama in Tibet, but on my trip to Lhasa last year, I could see nearly his picture in every monastery, and in some families. Mr Thompson, just live back to the 60s and 70s please, that’s the time of the Culture Revolution, for which you always have a lot to talk about.

Posted by Yuan | Report as abusive

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