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China Begins 100-Day Countdown to Beijing Olympics


China celebrated the 100-day countdown to the Beijing Olympics with dancers, singers, and a fun run in the capital. But, as Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing, the build-up to the Olympics has been overshadowed by clashes over China's human rights record.

Chinese held celebrations in major cities across the country to mark the Olympic countdown. State television showed dancers and choreographed cheering for the Olympic Games.

In the capital, Beijing, China began the one day of celebrations with a fun run around the main Olympic venues, known as the Bird Nest and the Water Cube.

An estimated 10,000 people took part in the run.

Chinese officials marked the day with speeches at China's Parliament, the Great Hall of the People.

In the evening Chinese pop singers performed at the Forbidden City to showcase Olympic songs.

The run-up to the Olympics has been marred by protests over China's human rights record, dealings with shady governments, and heavy-handed rule over Tibet.

Several country leaders have said they will not attend the opening ceremony of the August Games.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi invited former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan to attend the opening. He said relations between political rivals Beijing and Taipei are looking good.

He says progress has been achieved with great efforts and that the compatriots across the straits are looking forward to the resumption of the consultation and negotiation between the two sides, especially the negotiation to realize the normalization of charter flights and the visit of mainland tourists to Taiwan.

The Olympic torch arrived in Hong Kong after a turbulent and embarrassing global tour marked by protests and clashes between demonstrators and Chinese supporters.

Demonstrations were also expected in Hong Kong, and authorities deported several Tibet activists ahead of the torch's arrival.

China's rule over Tibet became a focal point of Olympic protests after China responded to Tibetan unrest in March by cutting off Tibetan areas and starting a massive propaganda campaign.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China warned that official statements demonizing foreign media for alleged bias on Tibet coverage risked creating a hostile environment for journalists coming to cover the Olympic Games.


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