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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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