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Olympic Torch to Travel Through Tibet, Taiwan


China has announced the Olympic Torch relay route for next year's Games in Beijing, with the flame scheduled to travel through Tibet and Taiwan on its way to the Opening Ceremonies.

Chinese officials said the torch, a red-and-silver tube shaped like a Chinese scroll covered with a cloud design, begins its journey in Athens and will cover more than 137,000 kilometers.

Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee head Liu Qi said the torch will pass through five continents and all through China.

A video shown at the ceremony announced that toward the end of its international leg, the torch will go from Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City to Taipei, Taiwan's capital. Among its dozens of stops in China will be Tibet, including the summit of Mount Everest.

Taiwan agreed to accept the torch from a country other than China. Beijing says Taiwan is a renegade province, a status Taipei rejects.

Wednesday, four activists were detained on Mount Everest after they unfurled a banner calling for Tibet's independence.

Chinese troops occupied Tibet in the 1950s, and Beijing continues to rule the region with a heavy hand. China says Tibet has been part of China for centuries, but many in Tibet say it was an independent state for much of that time.

In 1959, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, went into exile in India after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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