2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest

The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in China. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning (local time) on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route. Another name for the climb is the Beijing Olympics Torch Relay Qomolangma Leg.[1]

Everest North Face toward Base Camp Tibet Luca Galuzzi 2006 edit 1
Mount Everest North Face, Tibet

Planning

The route taking the Olympic torch to the summit of the world's tallest peak was a side spur of the main relay, whilst the main relay continued elsewhere in China. It was the most technically challenging leg of the entire torch relay. Aside from the physical difficulty of scaling the mountain, the torch that was used for the climb had to be specially designed to burn in a frigid, windy, oxygen-thin environment.[2]

Preparation

In April the Chinese government completed a blacktop highway to the Mount Everest base camp to be used when the Olympic torch was taken to the peak. Workers spent 10 months widening, evening the surface of, and installing guardrails on the 67-mile road, the Xinhua News Agency said. "The upgraded highway ... will provide a safe path for drivers, tourists and mountaineers, and facilitate torchbearers (taking) the Olympic flame to the top of the world," the report said. Critics claim the highway, which begins in Tibet's Xigaze prefecture, will damage the permafrost in the ecologically fragile area. But officials said they had conducted a thorough study of the effects on the permafrost, and that the 150 million yuan (US$21.5 million, €13.5 million) project did not damage the environment.[3]

The Chinese government said that the Everest event will be a show of international sportsmanship and national pride. "The torch relay to Mount Everest is a highlight of the whole relay, and it also represents the idea of green Olympics, high-tech Olympics and people's Olympics," Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Jingming said.[4]

Resistance

The government of Nepal imposed a complete communication ban on journalists and ordered soldiers and police to set up camps on Mount Everest with permission to use force against pro-Tibet demonstrators "to stop any anti-Chinese activities" during the torch's climb to the summit.[5] "This could mean shooting if necessary," Home Ministry spokesman Mod Raj Dotel said.[6]

Climb

On May 8, the Chinese Mountaineering Team successfully scaled the world's highest peak. A total of 36 torchbearers participated in the torch relay, 12 of them reaching the summit from the 8,300-meter base camp. The relay was televised live on CCTV state television, and globally.[7] On the summit, banners of the Olympic slogans were unfurled, and the first and last two torch-bearers were female Tibetan mountaineers.[8]

Criticism

On March 13, China announced it would restrict world mountaineers from climbing Everest and Cho Oyu over concerns that Tibet activists may try to disrupt plans for the climb. John Ackerly, president of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, criticized the climb as an attempt by the PRC to legitimize Chinese rule: "Beijing is using the Olympics torch ceremony, which should stand for human freedoms and dignity, to bolster its territorial claim over Tibet."[4]

References

  1. ^ Team announced for Olympic flame's ascent of Mt. Qomolangma, Xinhua. May 2, 2008.
  2. ^ Olympic torch run at Mount Everest shrouded in secrecy, CBS Sports. Accessed on April 30, 2008.
  3. ^ China completes blacktop road to Mt. Everest base camp ahead of Olympic torch ascent, International Herald Tribune.
  4. ^ a b China closes its side of Everest to climbers Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine, CNN
  5. ^ Nepal bans reporting from Everest, BBC.
  6. ^ Nepal: Everest pro-Tibet protesters may be shot, CNN.
  7. ^ Chinese mountaineers carry Olympic flame to top of Mt. Qomolangma, Xinhua. May 8, 2008.
  8. ^ Olympic flame lit at Everest peak , BBC. May 8, 2008.

External links

2008 Summer Olympics torch relay

The 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay was run from March 24 until August 8, 2008, prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics, with the theme of "one world, one dream". Plans for the relay were announced on April 26, 2007, in Beijing, China. The relay, also called by the organizers as the "Journey of Harmony", lasted 129 days and carried the torch 137,000 km (85,000 mi) – the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay since the tradition was started ahead of the 1936 Summer Olympics.

After being lit at the birthplace of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece on March 24, the torch traveled to the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31. From Beijing, the torch was following a route passing through six continents. The torch has visited cities along the Silk Road, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. The relay also included an ascent with the flame to the top of Mount Everest on the border of Nepal and Tibet, China from the Chinese side, which was closed specially for the event.In many cities along the North American and European route, the torch relay was protested by advocates of Tibetan independence, animal rights, and legal online gambling, and people protesting against China's human rights record, resulting in confrontations at a few of the relay locations. These protests, which ranged from thousands of people in San Francisco, to effectively none in Pyongyang, forced the path of the torch relay to be changed or shortened on a number of occasions. The torch was extinguished by Chinese security officials several times during the Paris leg for security reasons, and once in protest in Paris.The attacks on the torch in London and Paris were described as "despicable" by the Chinese government, condemning them as "deliberate disruptions... who gave no thought to the Olympic spirit or the laws of Britain and France" and who "tarnish the lofty Olympic spirit", and vowed they would continue with the relay and not allow the protests to "impede the Olympic spirit". Large-scale counter-protests by overseas Chinese and foreign-based Chinese nationals became prevalent in later segments of the relay. No major protests were visible in the Latin America, Africa, and Western Asia legs of the torch relay.

Prompted by the chaotic torch relays in Western Europe and North America, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge described the situation as a "crisis" for the organization and stated that any athletes displaying Tibetan flags at Olympic venues could be expelled from the games. However, he stopped short of cancelling the relay altogether despite calls to do so by some IOC members. The outcome of the relay influenced the IOC's decision to scrap global relays in future editions of the games.In June 2008, the Beijing Games' Organizing Committee announced that the planned international torch relay for the Paralympic Games had been cancelled. The Committee stated that the relay was being cancelled to enable the Chinese government to "focus on the rescue and relief work" following the Sichuan earthquake.

Nepal

Nepal ( (listen); Nepali: नेपाल Nepāl [neˈpal]), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल Saṅghīya Lokatāntrik Gaṇatantra Nepāl), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.

The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the Vedic period of the Indian subcontinent, the era in ancient India when Hinduism was founded, the predominant religion of the country. In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu Valley is intertwined with the culture of Indo-Aryans, and was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valley's traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rajput Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was never colonized but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and British India. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs, in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the proclamation of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world's last Hindu monarchy.The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, establishes Nepal as a federal secular parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Nepal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were signed with India in 1950 and the People's Republic of China in 1960. Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member. Nepal is also a member of the Non Aligned Movement and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The military of Nepal is the fifth largest in South Asia; it is notable for its Gurkha history, particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Timeline of Mount Everest expeditions

Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It is situated in the Himalayan range.

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