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Sacred flame goes to Xinjiang, then Tibet
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The Olympic torch will travel from Chongqing to Xinjiang instead of Tibet on the domestic relay route.

It is not the first time the Beijing Olympic Games organizing committee (BOCOG) has changed the route.

The Olympic torch relay goes on in Chongqing on June 16.

It postponed the Sichuan leg of the relay because of the May 12 earthquake. Besides, the flame's journey was suspended for three days, from May 19 to 21, to mourn the quake victims.

The torch will pass through the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from tomorrow to Thursday after leaving Chongqing Municipality today, according to the new schedule posted on BOCOG's website.

The flame will travel from Xinjiang to the Tibet Autonomous Region and continue its onward journey to Qinghai Province.

The Xinjiang leg of the relay will start in Urumqi, capital of the autonomous region, and reach Kashgar on Wednesday, Li Guangming, Party secretary of the Xinjiang sports bureau, said yesterday. It will pass through Shihezi and Changji on Thursday.

Altogether 624 torchbearers, including 10 foreigners and representatives of different ethnic groups, will carry the torch on its 3,000-km journey in Xinjiang.

Li ruled out any terrorist threat to the torch relay. "Anti-terrorism work is challenging, but we have worked very hard on security to ensure the safety of the relay."

The BOCOG postponed the Sichuan torch relay from June 15-18 June to Aug 3-5. The route will be changed, too, because the relay's duration has been cut from four to three days.

(China Daily June 16, 2008)

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