Officials brief on torch relay program

On March 19 at 3 PM, an executive vice president of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the spokesman from the Olympic Torch Relay Center will brief the world media on the torch relay's program and the selection of torchbearers. They will also introduce about the service guide of the Olympic torch relay for media will give a live coverage of the press conference. Full Coverage  In Pictures  Back to Live Cast

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  • Officials brief on torch relay program


  • On March 19 at 3 PM, an executive vice president of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the spokesman from the Olympic Torch Relay Center will brief the world media on the torch relay's program and the selection of torchbearers. They will also introduce about the service guide of the Olympic torch relay for media will give a live coverage of the press conference.


  • Wang Hui:
    Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! Welcome to the press conference by the media centre today. We'll talk about this topic which will draw great attention. Four days later, the torch will be lit in Olympia, Greece. And today, we're hosting this Press Conference on the Light the Passion Share the Dream Torch Relay of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

    2008-03-19 15:01:08

  • Wang Hui:
    Today we're honored to present Mr. Jiang Xiaoyu, Executive Vice President of BOCOG. We also have Mr. Qu Yingpu, spokesperson of the Olympic Torch Relay Center.

    2008-03-19 15:08:11

  • Wang Hui:
    First Mr. Jiang Xiaoyu, Executive Vice President of BOCOG will brief you on the torch relay for the Beijing Games.

    2008-03-19 15:11:29

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:
    Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Today is March 19 and on March 24 the torch will be lit in Olympia, Greece. Following six days relay in Greece, we will have the handover ceremony. The flame will arrive in Beijing, China on March 31, then we will have a grand welcome ceremony for this and we will have the lighting ceremony for torch relay in Beijing which will usher in the splendid celebration of the games. The torch relay is themed as "Journey of Harmony". Its slogan is Light the Passion Share the Dream.

    2008-03-19 15:16:34

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    The torch relay will cover 5 inhabited continents. We are highlighting Chinese peoples' aspiration for a harmonious world with lasting peace and universal prosperity. The torch relay is expected to convey the message of peace and harmony.

    The torch relay will be divided into two parts: The first part is outside the mainland of China and the other one inside the mainland of China with participation of over 5,000 escort runners. It will be the longest torch relay in the history of the Olympic Games with the most participants. Millions of people will join, watch and experience this magnificent celebration of mankind.

    2008-03-19 15:17:34

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    At present, the organization of the torch relay is entering the final stage. Now I've go to preview the general plan of the torch relay and the issues of common interests.

    First is our general plan for the Beijing Olympic torch relay. On March 24 in Olympia, Greece, a lighting ceremony will be held, after which a six day relay is to kick off in Greece.

    The Olympic flame handover ceremony will be held in Athens on March 30. For this Mr Liu Qi, Member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, Secretary of CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and President of BOCOG is to take part in the two events.

    2008-03-19 15:20:36

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    On March 31, the flame will arrive in Beijing and the grand ceremony will be held to welcome the flame and officially launch the torch relay of the 2008 Olympic Games. CPC and State leaders will attend the ceremony.

    Now I'd like to brief you on the relay outside the mainland of China from April 1 to May 3. The torch will travel through 19 cities and Hong Kong and Macao outside the mainland of China. The torch relay official team will take the flame by the chartered plane supplied by Air China to the cities and regions. The relay outside the mainland of China will cover 97,000 km with the participation of more than 2,000. In total there will be 33 days.

    2008-03-19 15:29:56

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:
    The Olympic flame, after the relay outside the mainland of China, will arrive in Sanya city of Hainan Province on May 3rd. From May 4 onwards, BOCOG torch relay operation team will take the flame to 113 cities and areas in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, according to the pre-planned route by transport means such as airplane, railway and road. The flame is planned to stay in each province (autonomous region or municipality) for an average of three days. Relay will last for four days in each of Sichuan, Henan, Shandong and Guangdong provinces (where the population is over 80 million) and two days in Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing respectively. The flame will be back in Beijing on August 6 and relayed within the city for three days. On the evening of August 8, the flame will reach the main stadium of the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony and light up the main cauldron, which will be on until the closing ceremony of the Games. The relay within the mainland of China is to last for 97 days with over 19,000 torchbearers, covering more than 40,000 km.

    2008-03-19 15:33:06

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Now I will talk about the issue of common interest. First, it is about the selection of torch bearers. Since June 23, 2007, the selection of torch bearers was initiated officially. The provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, the IOC, the China Olympic Committee, BOCOG and the NOCs of the relay cities follow the plan of the torch bearer selection and they organized the selection process. Now the selection of the torch bearers has been completed.

    2008-03-19 15:36:40

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Now about the selection of torch bearers outside the mainland of China:

    Selection of torchbearers by NOCs or in the relay cities is well underway, among which 16 countries (regions) have completed the selection and submitted the name lists. The other five have also submitted the name lists.

    As for the selection from the mainland of China, 11,534 torchbearers from all walks of life have been chosen from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. They include not only well-known personalities such as model workers, scientists, and elite entrepreneurs from across various industries, but also dedicated ordinary workers. The torchbearers, aged from 14 to 94, are from all ethnic groups in China. Foreigners, compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese who have contributed enormously to China's reform and development are also included in the torchbearer team.

    2008-03-19 15:45:53

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Coca Cola, Samsung and Lenovo have launched their own torchbearer selection programs through public selection and internal recommendation. After the preliminary review, interview, open ballot and the final selection procedures, 4221 torchbearers, whose actions have well illustrated the Olympic spirit and development of a harmonious society, have been chosen.

    After today's press conference, all the main selection organizations will release the confirmed name lists of torchbearers.

    2008-03-19 15:51:53

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Now I'd like to talk about the planned route, highlights and methods of relay.

    The planned relay route has been defined. According to the plan, for the relay outside the mainland of China, 80 torchbearers are assigned for each day and they will run 250 metres each. Every day the relay covers roughly 20km and operates for 6 hours including celebrations on the starting and finishing points. Relay in Hong Kong and Macao involves 120 torchbearers respectively with slightly longer relay hours. Movement of the relay team outside the mainland of China will be conducted by chartered airplane, which is one Air Bus 330 airplane provided by Air China.

    2008-03-19 15:58:12

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:
    For the relay within the mainland of China, 208 torchbearers are assigned for each day and each of them will run 200 metres. The relay covers 40-50 km and operates 10-12 hours each day. Movement of the relay team within the mainland of China will be conducted by air, rail or road among the 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities). Many highlights of the relay cities have been included in the route.

    2008-03-19 16:02:33

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Highlights. The 21 relay cities outside the mainland of China boast lots of highlights. The flame is expected to reach a number of world-famous sites of interest, for example, the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg, British Museum in London, Eiffel Tower of France, Red Fort in New Delhi, Bangkok Grand Palace, Insadong of Seoul and the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour.

    The relay within the mainland of China is equally splendid. From the southernmost corner of China -- Tian Ya Hai Jiao in Sanya, Hainan Province, to the northern borders; from the Pamirs in the west to the coast of the East Sea, wherever it goes, the flame is to bring "Green Olympics, Hi-tech Olympics and People's Olympics", the concepts of Beijing Olympic Games to different parts across the country.

    2008-03-19 16:03:02

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:
    Methods of relay. The methods of Beijing Olympic Games torch relay are of great variety. In addition to running, the traditional way of torch relay, unique methods such as cycling, horse-riding, ship and train travels have also been added. The relay in London, the next summer Olympic Games host city, features the longest route and most celebrative events in all the relay cities outside the mainland of China. Moreover, at the end of each relay day, celebrations will be held in the city, which will inject greater energy and enthusiasm into the relay activities. By then, a joyful, passionate Beijing Olympic Games torch relay, fully demonstrating the Olympic dreams, will be presented to people from across the globe.

    2008-03-19 16:06:21

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Now I will talk about the Olympic flame to the Mount Qomolangma. The torch relay's ascent of Mt. Qomolangma, the highlight for the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay, is a great feat in the Olympic history. The torch bearers' team for the Qomolangma leg will carry the torch to ascend the peak in any possible day with favourable weather conditions in May. On the day when the torch ascends the peak, the torch relay activities in relevant province will be suspended and resumed after the ascent, in order to avoid two torch events going on simultaneously. After the ascent, the flame will be kept in Lhasa and then join the flame which arrives in Lhasa during the relay in the mainland of China.

    That concludes my speech. Thank you very much.

    2008-03-19 16:13:19

  • Wang Hui:
    Now let's welcome Mr. Qu Yingpu to preview the media services.

    2008-03-19 16:19:16

  • Qu Yingpu:

    Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. On the media services for the Beijing 2008 Torch Relay, I'm going to give you some information on official signals.

    BOCOG will offer official signals to media worldwide, following the practice in the previous Games. The details are as follows: on each relay day, BOCOG will provide a package of official TV signals, which will last about 15 minutes, and lists of shots in both Chinese and English (PAL mode, standard definition, 4:3, live audio). Both the signals and footages will be sent through satellite networks worldwide and be available for all the media. In addition, the official signals will be sent through the GVW of the APTN as well. Furthermore, the official pictures, press releases and audio signals of each relay day will be available on the torch relay official website for free download. The news includes the daily highlights, the official signals are 15 minutes long, and in an MP3 format. Please check for details in a media packet.

    2008-03-19 16:19:38

  • Qu Yingpu:
    The organizers of torch relay in the relay cities will offer services for media coverage during the Beijing Olympic torch relay outside the mainland of China. The media from the mainland of China will form a media team traveling with the relay team. Thus, there is no arrangement of coverage for them. During the relay in the mainland of China, the organizing committees of each relay province, autonomous region and municipality will set their own torch relay media centers. At present, the preparation for setting up all the media centers is underway and their contacts will be released recently through the BOCOG official website. The media can report along the relay routes, at the collection points and handover points of torchbearers, and at the celebration sites. For further information, please contact the organizing committee in each relay city.

    2008-03-19 16:21:18

  • Qu Yingpu:

    The media vehicles in the relay team are of limit space. The need of the official signal production team will be accommodated first. The limited additional seats will be available for local media.

    The relay cities will hold press conferences 2-3 days before the arrival of the flame. For the legs in the mainland of China, the press conference for each province will be held in the first relay city of this province. The press conference will brief on the relay organization and provide detailed information.

    The Beijing Olympic torch relay official website will set up a dedicated webpage to release the street-level routes, press releases, audio, pictures and TV signals for the media's reference. The application by media out of the mainland of China for coverage on the relay in mainland of China was initiated on January 10 and ended on January 31. About 700 applications were received.

    2008-03-19 16:25:05

  • Qu Yingpu:

    According to the principle that local community will take charge of the torch relay, the organizing committees in relay cities will organize all the events under the guidance of BOCOG. The events include services for media coverage. BOCOG also has its own media services team. Firstly, the advance media and communications team. It will arrive in each city in advance to attend the press conferences held by the local organizing committee 2-3 days before the arrival of the torch. The team will also work on related media and communications endeavours.

    Secondly, the media and communications group of the main operation team. In addition to the staff for the media and communications service, there will be the Beijing Olympic torch relay spokespersons, who will take charge of the media and communications for torch relay and receive interviews from media. That is the conclusion of my presentation.

    2008-03-19 16:28:22

  • China Radio International:
    My first question, are there any programs or activities slated for the torch relay on a daily basis? And if so, what are they? Second question, who will be the first Chinese person to carry the Olympic flame after the torch is lit in Athens?

    2008-03-19 16:30:39

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    All arrangements for each city are basically as follows: every morning we'll have a very short relay starting ceremony which will last 15 minutes. During this ceremony, representatives from the local committee and BOCOG will address the party and there are also cities that invited VIP guests to attend this starting ceremony. Once the torch is lit, the first runner will start running different routes and times sections as planned originally. When the routes are finished we'll have another celebration at the end of the day attended by these representatives. The last torch runner is also supposed to light portable flames on the site. The organizing committee will also prepare some performances at the end of the day. The ceremony will last one hour.

    After the torch is lit up in ancient Olympia, Greece, the torch will be relayed in Greece for 6 days with the participation of 400 torch bearers, the selection of those will be decided by the Greek Olympic Committee. I think the first runner will be either a Greek athlete or a representative of the Greek torchbearers. As to who will be the first Chinese torchbearer in Greece, you need to check with Greek authorities.

    2008-03-19 16:33:25

  • Wall Street Journal:
    Given the recent protests and violence in Tibet and the fact the torch relay is going on, what means will BOCOG go through to ensure the safety of the runners? Is there going to be any police presence or change in routes? Outside of China there have been quite a lot of threats of protest and they're arguing the Chinese government is giving different local governments pressures relating to the safety issue. Some people are also alleging that there have been Chinese plainclothes police at these functions. What do you think of it? Third, what message do you want to send out to all these protesters planning to do something at some point along the torch relay routes?

    2008-03-19 16:36:16

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Thank you for your question. As we all know, recently there have been incidents in Lhasa, Tibet. Yesterday Premier Wen Jiabao has said much about this situation at a press conference. I want to say the situation has basically been stabilized and the relay will proceed as scheduled. The Tibet Torch Relay Organizing Committee has made real efforts for the relay. The progress has been smooth and successful. We know the incident is the last thing we want to see but we firmly believe the Tibet Autonomous Region will be able to secure the stability of Lhasa and the smooth going of torch relay in Tibet.

    For your second and third question, my answer is as follows: We heard recently that there are some individuals outside of China saying they will stage protests to disturb the torch relay. Those activities are totally against the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the slogan of the XXIX Olympic Torch Relay which is the "Journey of Harmony."

    2008-03-19 16:38:52

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    We hold the opinion that those disturbances or disruptions are totally against the spirit of the Olympic Games. It is actually a challenge to the Olympic Charter and a threat to all the people around the world who are involved in the Olympic movement and all the people who love peace and friendship. Those activities will not win hearts and minds of people and therefore are doomed to failure.

    The Chinese people are enthusiastic about the Olympic movement. From the very beginning people in China have made solid efforts to prepare for Olympic Games and the Chinese people hope the games in Beijing will be a high level one with distinguishing features to leave a legacy to people around the world and the history of the Olympic Games. We hold a sincere attitude towards the Olympic Games. This was reiterated by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday at the press conference and all our preparations are focused on this very goal.

    2008-03-19 16:40:20

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    The message we are trying to convey by the torch relay is peace, friendship and harmony. We hope that through the Beijing Olympic Games, people around the world can have better understanding of the Chinese people who are do their best for the realization of a harmonious world society. Let's gather under the Olympic flag and gather around the Olympic flame which symbolizes peace and development. Let's work together to promote development of the world. This is the message I want to give to those potential protestors.

    Of course the security along the torch relay routes outside China will be handled by local governments, police and Olympic authorities.

    2008-03-19 16:42:45

  • CNN:
    At this stage are you confident there will be no sporting boycott of the Olympic Games? Also the French Foreign Minister said in the last 24 hours that he would consider a boycott that is non sporting including a possible boycott of the opening ceremony. I wonder if I could ask your reaction to that?

    2008-03-19 16:44:03

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    As we know the Summer Olympic Games is held every 4 years. It is a very important gala for sports participants and all the people around the world. Many athletes have been preparing for many years and many people around the world are looking forward to this very Olympic Games. We hope the Olympic Games will satisfy needs of athletes and the games will be splendid and successful.

    The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games is much anticipated. Its theme is civilization and harmony. It will highlight the progressiveness of the Chinese civilization and its integration with cultures around the world. We will use high technologies to give the best presentation. The issue you just raised is only the decision of a few people or a few organizations. I do believe the majority of people around the world will make the right decision and will participate in the Olympic Games and the opening ceremony.

    2008-03-19 16:46:07

  • Gazzetta Sport, Milan:

    Security issues: Other than Tibet it's not absurd to imagine any kind of terrorist attack like a car bomber in Xinjiang. Could you here assure the safety of the life of every torchbearer? It's more like a yes or no answer.

    2008-03-19 16:47:22

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:

    Please be assured that no matter what happened in Tibet, Xinjiang or any other places in China, those events will never affect the normal operation of the torch relay. In China, we will work closely with governments in different levels to first of all ensure the safety of torchbearers and second of all the smooth operation of other events at the torch relay.

    2008-03-19 16:48:16

  • Austrian Television:
    Have I understood you correctly that no matter what, the Tibet leg of the torch relay will take place? Or could there be any event where you have to cancel it? I have counted 12 days where the torch will travel through places that are currently listed as unsafe for journalists to go now. Why will they be safer for the torchbearers and journalists covering these legs? Thank you.

    2008-03-19 16:50:11

  • Jiang Xiaoyu:
    For all the risks involved in the torch relay we have had a comprehensive evaluation and have come up with relative contingency plans against all eventualities -- which include unfavorable weather conditions, too. In case there are those events or incidents happening, we are obliged to change the route or cancel the relay in some cities. At the moment, all the preparations for the torch relay in Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu are underway and the progress has been very successful. The torch relay is a large scale campaign which lasts 130 days so during this period of time if there's any condition or eventuality -- say the weather or any other condition -- we will immediately inform the public.

    2008-03-19 16:52:01

  • Wang Hui:
    Thank you for your attention. That is the end of the press conference.

    2008-03-19 16:53:13


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