Olympic Torch Arrives in Tibet

Amid heavy security, China slams Dalai Lama
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 21, 2008 6:17 AM CDT
Tibetan people wave Beijing Olympics flags to welcome the Olympic flame during the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa, Saturday, June 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Xinhua)
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(Newser) – Under tight security, the Olympic torch made its way through Tibet’s capital in the most controversial leg of its worldwide journey—a jaunt that ended with Chinese criticism of the Dalai Lama, Reuters reports. “We will be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique,” said the Communist party’s Tibet leader in front of Potala Palace, the exiled Tibetan leader’s traditional seat.

Despite the rhetoric, red-and-white clad runners carried the torch through Lhasa without incident, the BBC notes. A few dozen reporters were allowed to witness the event under the officials’ watchful eye. For China, it was a key demonstration of unity. The torch, meanwhile, will now wind its way through northern China before arriving in Beijing in early August.