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Tibet Leg of Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Postponed


Chinese officials have confirmed that the controversial Tibet leg of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay has been postponed.

Beijing Olympic officials previously announced a delay in the torch relay through Sichuan province after the area was hit by a powerful earthquake May 12. But now officials confirm additional changes in the route. No official reason has been given.

The flame originally was scheduled to travel to Tibet after the Chongqing relay, which is finishing Monday. Instead, the new schedule makes the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region the next stop, followed by Tibet and Qinghai.

Media reports say the Tibet leg also has been shortened and may be limited to the capital, Lhasa.

Some Tibetan exiles and human rights activists have called on China to cancel the Tibet relay.

After last month's earthquake, officials decided to postpone the Sichuan leg of the relay until August and skip the worst affected areas of the province.

Tibetans in Sichuan joined with Tibetan communities in nearby provinces in several weeks of demonstrations earlier this year. There are unconfirmed reports that scattered Tibetan protests continue.

The main torch relay already has visited Tibetan areas in Yunnan province. A separate relay took the flame to the top of Mount Everest on the Tibet-Nepal border.

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