China plans Restrictions for Everest.
by Gary unknown
Officially, Beijing is suggesting restricting permit numbers on the grounds that the party carrying the Olympic torch to and from the peak of Everest should have right of way. Human rights activists take a different view. They think it is an effort to stifle negative public opinion in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics.
The president of The International Campaign for Tibet, John Ackerly, suggests the Chinese are concerned about their inability to control what they may consider sensitive or embarrassing information from being transmitted to the west by climbers who can easily communicate with the outside world via satellite phone and internet. The furore that occurred after the killing of a Tibetan nun by Chinese boarder police in September was a severe lesson that Beijing does not care to re-visit.
China intends to launch the Olympics torch run with a spectacular flames ceremony atop Mt. Everest before it makes it's way to Beijing. A previous torch burning ceremony for a different event was held on Everest in 1999, a first, proving the viability of the idea. A practice run for the Olympics in planned for Spring 2007. The torch will be attached to a cylinder of oxygen and will have a built in igniter to relight the flame when it is blown out