Pro-China Wave Dominates Aussie Relay

Protesters allege Beijing hand in feel-good atmosphere
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 1:20 PM CDT
Australia's Megan Marcks runs under sky writing of the word "Tibet" during the 2008 Beijing Olympic games torch relay, in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, April 24, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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(Newser) – The Chinese flag flew high at the Australian leg of the Olympic torch relay today, with pro-China partisans outnumbering pro-Tibet protesters four to one—and relative calm compared to the intensity of the relay to date. Human rights protesters alleged that Beijing, apparently embarrassed by the tone of earlier protests, sent the flags and even paid the way to Canberra for pro-China demonstrators.

There were roughly 10,000 people cheering on China, the AP reports—many chanting “One China Forever!” Beijing denied any involvement in the event. At one point, an airplane wrote “Free Tibet” in the sky; another protester sat down in the path of a runner. Seven people were arrested overall.