In Flames ~ Incident of War
Good Job, Maria-Chan ~ Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi 01
The Olympic Flame
The Olympic Flame or Olympic Torch is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.
The 2008 Beijing Games planned for the torch to pass through the island of Taiwan before going to Hong Kong, Macau, and then mainland China. Taiwan, then led by the pro-Taiwan independence government of Chen Shui-bian, rejected this on the basis that it wished the flame to enter the country by a “third-party country” and leave by a “fourth-party country” so the torch would not “downgrade Taiwan’s sovereignty.” Plans to carry the 2008 torch to the top of Mount Everest were also met with opposition by Tibetan government-in-exile and its followers.
In many cities along the route, the torch relay was met by protesters representing a range of political issues, particularly those related to China’s human rights record, the recent unrest in Tibet, the war in Darfur, China’s support to or commercial activity with governments in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, North Korean defectors, territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel Islands with Vietnam, Falun Gong persecution and the political status of Taiwan, resulting in confrontations at a few of the relay locations. These protests, which ranged from hundreds of people in San Francisco, to effectively none in Pyongyang, have 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. In the front of the city hall of Paris, the Chinese security officials extinguished the torch in order to protest against the flag from RSF: an image of Olympic symbols in five handcuffs. The flag was hanging on a window of the city hall.
Large-scale counter-protests by overseas Chinese and foreign-based Chinese nationals became prevalent in later segments of the relay. In San Francisco, the number of supporters were much more than the number of protesters, and in Australia, Japan, South Korea, the counter-protesters overwhelmed the protesters. A couple of skirmishes between the protesters and supporters were reported.