Changing China

Giant on the move

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Explorer running with the torch

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Pupils raise their handmade model torches of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to celebrate torch relay in China at a primary school in HuzhouWong How Man is one of China’s best known and most active explorers, whose accomplishments include an expedition that discovered a new source of the Yangtze, China’s longest river.   

More recently the Hong Kong native and his group, China Exploration & Research Society, have taken on a number of conservation projects in Tibetan areas of China — work that helped him land a spot as an Olympic torch runner last week.

Wong, one of Time magazine’s Asian heroes, carried the torch briefly on a section of the route in Qinghai province — home to many Tibetans — on June 23, opting for the lower-key destination to draw attention to his work rather than the more controversial leg in Tibet.

He wrote an e-mail about his experience to Reuters Taiwan bureau chief, Doug Young:

Where next for the torch?

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The national flag in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square flies at half mast in memory of those who died in the massive earthquakePreparations for the Beijing Olympics have understandably taken a back seat to the tragedy in Sichuan.

On Sunday, it was announced that the torch relay would be suspended from Monday to Wednesday to mark three days of national mourning.

Day 14 – Mission accomplished

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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.

Nick (& Mark & Dave), the torch and Everest – Day 13

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rtr209tx_comp.jpgIf the word around camp is anything to go by, the final assault on the summit of Everest will begin in the early hours of Thursday morning. Journalists and accompanying officials have spent much of the day taking souvenir photos and snapping up post cards at the “world’s highest post office”.

The rumours would appear to be based on nothing more than collective will (or hysteria, perhaps).

Dave (& Mark & Nick), the torch and Everest – Day 11

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day11-greatview.JPGWell, we are still here. Invited as we were to cover this amazing event, we have been kept at the press centre located near Everest Base Camp for over one week now, and still we do not know the answers to a basic, important question  – Where is the Olympic torch now?

Frustrations are obviously still running high, and at 5200 Metres altitude, that frustration is unfortunately multiplied.

Nick (& Dave & Mark), the torch and Everest – Day 9

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I heard excited cries outside our hut this morning and the optimist in me immediately thought the climbers had reached the summit of Everest with the Olympic torch.

A warm bath, clean clothes and bedding were only a matter of hours away, I thought, as I poked my nose over the top of my sleeping bag into the icy cold.

Nick, the torch and Mt Everest – Day 4

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More negotiations over whether we should delay our departure for base camp kept us off the road for an extra couple of hours and stretched the patience of the Chinese journalists.

All was forgotten, though, a couple of hours later when got our first real look at Everest from the top of a pass.

Nick, the torch and Mt Everest – Day 1

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At last, 11 of us did get onto a plane to Lhasa last Friday. It was soon clear that while the Tibetan authorities were prepared to let us in, this was by no means going to be a free-ranging reporting assignment.

The hotel ‘near Lhasa airport’ that we had been promised turned out to be 300 kilometres away in Shigatse (3,900m).

Nick, the torch and Everest – prologue

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We’re here, where’s the torch?

We arrived. For a long time it looked like we wouldn’t, but on Monday morning, four days after leaving Beijing, 11 foreign journalists arrived at the media centre on the lower slopes of Mount Everest to report on the torch relay.

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It brought to an end two of weeks of uncertainty that started when a briefing was cancelled and we heard nothing more until we were summoned to the Beijing Olympic media centre on the morning of our scheduled departure. The party of foreign media, at this stage 20-strong, was informed that bad weather had caused a delay to our journey and the departure ceremony for the climb team and torch had been cancelled.

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