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Chinese Athletes Take Olympic Torch to Mount Everest

Chinese athletes have taken the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The event is the highlight of the Beijing Games torch relay, which had earlier been the target of chaotic protests during its tour around the world. Stephanie Ho has more on the story.

"We made it!" shouted the torchbearers, from the summit of Mount Everest. Ethnic Tibetan Norbu Zhamdu, lit the torch Thursday with a specially designed lighter.

"We have lit this torch on the top of the world," said Norbu Zhamdu.

People all over China saw a live broadcast of the Mount Everest torch lighting Thursday. Chinese authorities have touted the Everest leg of the Olympic torch relay as the journey's crowning event.

Everest is on the border between China and Nepal. The harsh conditions at the nearly 8,000-meter summit included strong wind, freezing temperatures and a lack of oxygen because of the high altitude.

Chinese Technology Minister Wan Gang told reporters many specialists, including rocket scientists, have been working to deal with these problems.

He says, after so many years of research, he is delighted to see the torch bearers climb the mountain and light the torch.

He pointed to another technological innovation - having live television cameras at the peak.

Authorities paused the main torch relay in the southern city, Shenzhen, while the final push for the summit was taking place. The Everest flame is to be reunited with the main flame, later in the relay.

Before reaching China, the flame relay was overshadowed by anti-China protests that often became chaotic. This prompted pro-China demonstrators to also turn out in force along the international torch route.