The Tibet Autonomous Regional Government was confident to have a safe and successful Olympic torch relay on Saturday, said Palma Trily, executive vice chairman of Tibet on Friday.
He said police have been deployed to ensure security during the relay, but there was none from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), as "the duty of the PLA is to guard the frontier and protect the territory."
He made the remarks while meeting a 50-strong delegation of journalists, including staff from 29 overseas news organizations.
"We believe activities against the people's will and against the historical trend doom to fail," said the official when he was asked whether the Dalai Lama clique would sabotage the torch relay.
He said sabotage activities would exist as long as the clique existed, even after the torch relay concluded in Tibet.
Five organization including "Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC)", "Tibetan Women's Association (TWA)" had threatened to sabotage the torch relay.
Also at the press conference, Dekyi Drolkar, director of Tibet's sports bureau, said the Olympic torch relay in Tibet would have 156 torch bearers including 75 Tibetans. The Lhasa leg would start from Norbu Lingka Square and end in Potala Palace, covering 9.3 kilometers.
The Beijing Organizing Committee of the Games of the 29th Olympiad (BOCOG) announced the torch relay schedule in Tibet was cut to one day on June 21 from the original three days of June 19 to 21.
In the one-day Lhasa leg, the flame kindled on the top of Mount Qomolangma on May 8 will join the main torch, which would be the first time in the history of Olympic Games.
Tibet has released 1,157 people involved in the March Lhasa riot, who were charged with minor offences, said Palma Trily. Police detained and arrested 953 people after the riot, while 362 others surrendered to police, he said.
The Tibet courts handed down punishments to 12 people on Thursday and Friday and 30 on April 29, convicting them of arson, robbery, the crime of gathering to assault state organs, and other crimes. Another 116 in custody were awaiting trial.
The punishments for 29 of the convicts have gone effective.
Defendants from minority ethnic groups were provided with interpreters at court sessions, which ensured their rights, Palma Trily said.
He said judicial authorities followed the policy of combining punishment with leniency in handling the cases, which means leniency for those with minor offences.
The riot, which was believed to have been organized, premeditated and masterminded by the backers of the Dalai Lama, erupted in downtown Lhasa on March 14, leaving seven schools, five hospitals and 120 homes torched and 908 shops looted. Total damage was more than 244 million yuan.
The riot also left 18 innocent civilians and one police officer dead, and 382 civilians and 241 policemen were injured.
(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2008)