Melbourne, Apr.25 : The Chinese Embassy in Australian capital Canberra hired thousands of Chinese students to demonstrate during the Olympic relay on Thursday, reports news.com.au.
Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope confirmed that the Chinese Embassy in Canberra was closely involved in helping transport up to 10,000 Chinese students, ensuring pro-China demonstrators vastly outnumbered Tibetan activists.
The revelation of official Chinese involvement in the demonstrations could trigger a diplomatic row with Australia's largest trading partner.
It is understood Beijing's officials in Canberra were in constant contact with travel companies and student leaders who were recruiting China's red army of young activists.
Stanhope said he was not aware of the fine details of Beijing officials' involvement but he was certain they played a role.
"I don't know the nature of the links or the organisation but I know there was contact between the embassy and Chinese representative groups," he said.
Asked if he believed China had helped to supply the thousands of professionally made flags and bunting, Stanhope said: "I believe it must have been provided by a central agency."
The Chinese demonstrators appeared highly organised, with leaders sporting walkie-talkies and colour-coded uniforms.
The Chinese Students and Scholars Association yesterday admitted running a national web-based campaign to recruit students from across the country to travel to Canberra.
Police said up to 15,000 pro-Chinese demonstrators were at the relay, swamping the estimated 2000 pro-Tibetan activists.
Just seven people were arrested - a far cry from the chaotic violence that has marred previous relay legs in other Western cities such as London, Paris and San Francisco.