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Australia Beijing Olympic Torch Relay

24 April 2008

About twenty thousand Chinese students and Australian-Chinese had waited all night in the cold for the Beijing Olympic Torch relay that started at 8.45am today. Majority of them had traveled to Australian capital Canberra from Sydney and Melbourne, with some coming from the cities as far as Brisbane, Perth and even Tasmania.

"The local hotels are all full, many people can't find a bed to sleep, neither can we, so we just sit around waiting for the torch relay to begin," A Chinese student reportedly told the journalist who interviewed people sitting along the relay route in chilly darkness.

Some of the Chinese torch cheers have lived in Australia for generations, and others came to welcome the sacred fire with their entire family, including elderly and small kids.

At 6am in the early morning of 24 April, an open ceremony began which was flavoured with smoke ritual, Australia national anthem singing by 500 people - the first time in Australia - as well as Australian Aborigine and Chinese folk chance performances.

Canberra is a sister city with Beijing, and Australians, having successfully hosted Sydney 2000 Olympics, play an important role in helping Chinese shaping the Beijing Olympic event.

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Proud Tania Major

2007 Young Australia of the Year award receiver Mania Major is the first torchbearer on Canberra leg of Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay

Aussie sports hero Ian Thorpe concludes the torch relay down under

Peace Vs Violence

Young Australians and Chinese cheer together

A violent pro-Tibetan Independent woman has to be escorted away from the site after her failed attempt to disrupt the torch relay


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