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April 8, 2008
Olympic Torch Relay may be Cancelled
Due to massive protests against Chinese crackdown in Tibet, the International Olympic Committee is considering the cancellation of the torch relay which features athletes and others carrying the torch through the streets of 22 major cities on its way to China.
Such calls will probably increase today as the torch arrives in San Francisco where the relay is expected to be hit with big protests:
The International Olympic Committee met in Beijing to discuss the crisis even as demonstrators in San Francisco, where the torch for the Beijing Games is due to be paraded tomorrow, flew flags from the Golden Gate bridge to herald a new round of protests. If the relay were cancelled, it would be a huge blow to Chinese prestige and probably send them through the roof. They're already suspicious that the protests are being allowed by western governments in order to embarass China. A halt to the relay would almost certainly let loose a storm of criticisms from the state run Chinese media.
Genially Lindbergh, a vice president, said a "full review" of the relay for this and future Games was needed. "I am sure it will be discussed," she said. Jacques Rogge, the president, confirmed the meeting would discuss the events of the past week. "We are going to of course discuss the torch relay," he said. "We will discuss this and we will see what we have to do now that we have had six or seven legs.
"We will see what kind of conclusions we have to take from that. I would not want to speculate about what we are going to discuss. We will make an analysis of what has happened and then we will draw the necessary conclusions."
But the prospect of people being injured or even killed in these protests has the IOC extremely nervous. Such an occurence may very well happen today in San Francisco where the citiy's huge ethnic Chinese minority is calling for a boycott of the games over the Tibet crackdown.