The Olympic flame ignition and torch relay over Mount Qomolangma will not harm local environment, a national legislator and senior official of Tibet said Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games ( BOCOG) has announced that a rehearsal for next year's Olympic torch relay over Mount Qomolangma would be held this year. The announcement has sparked debate on the damage to local environment.
Some media reports have blamed the environmental changes of Tibet partly on the increase of tourists and mountaineers to this area, citing more modern facilities will be brought up the mountain to ensure the torch burning and television broadcast, which will then result in greater pollution.
"How can the Olympic torch relay harm the ecological environment of Tibet? On the contrary, it is of vital significance and a golden opportunity for the development of Tibet," said Zhang Qingli, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) and Communist Party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Zhang said more publicity will be carried out to make people have a better understanding of Tibet and of the region's environment protection.
Yuklha, another Tibetan deputy to the NPC, also showed her welcome to the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Tibet. "It will be very significant for the Olympic flame to ascend on the global peak."
The BOCOG has revealed that the torch is expected to reach Mount Qomolangma from the southern slope before the mountaineers carry it down along the northern slope.
Beijing had promised in its bidding reports that the holy fire of the Olympics will reach the world's highest peak. It will be the first time for the Olympic torch relay to be held on the 8844. 43-meter mountain.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)