New Delhi, Mar 31: The Olympic Torch has arrived in Chinese capital Beijing from Greece, 130 days before the Games, and on the eve of a global torch relay, which is likely to spark off protests against China's policies and human rights practices.
The Olympic Torch was re-lit at an elaborate ceremony that included Chinese President Hu Jintao and other members of China's Politburo, the foreign diplomatic corps and a cheering throng of 4,000 dancers and acrobats and retired state workers in uniform, waving flags and red-and-gold pompoms.
On March 30, Greek officials handed over the Olympic flame to the organisers of the Beijing Games in Athens. The arrival of the torch in Beijing allows China a short respite before the relay sets off on a round-the-world tour to showcase a confident and strong China to the world ahead of the August 8 opening. The torch relay has been heavily promoted by the Chinese Government. After Beijing, the flame goes to Almaty in Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, the start of a 20-country, 137,000 km global journey. The torch relay is the longest in Olympic history, spreading across six continents.