Golmud (China), Jun 22: Thousands of residents from the city and neighbouring countries gathered on Salt Lake Square as the starting ceremony of Olympic torch relay began on Sunday, June 22. After a tribute of one-minute silence for the victims of May 12 earthquakes in Sichuan Province, which claimed over 69,000 lives, the ceremony began.
Qinghai Province party Chief Qiang Wei passed the torch to the first torchbearer Cega, a Tibetan man known as "Tibetan Antelope Guard" who spent more than ten years on anti-poaching in the nearby Hol Xil Nature Reserve. "As the first torchbearer, I'm very proud and excited," said Cega. "Wish the Beijing Olympics as a perfect game." The torch was then passed to a local private entrepreneur Liu Shengchun, whose company donated Kunlun Jade worth 36 million yuan to the Beijing Olympic organizers for making the Olympic medal. A total of 171 torchbearers will run 7.5 kilometers in the city, which is famous for rising industry.