The Olympic torch relay is to kick off on Sunday in China's Qinghai Province. Both local residents and torchbearers are ready to greet the flame.
The Olympic Flame passed through Tibet Autonomous Region's capital Lhasa in a joyful and peacefully atmosphere Saturday morning. The Flame arrived in Qinghai's Golmud by flight in the afternoon.
Golmud, a rising industry city called "China's salt lake city", is the first stop of the 3-day Qinghai leg, followed by the Qinghai Lake and the the provincial capital Xining.
Golumd, an important conjunction of Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Highway, is regarded as "Gate of Tibet". The streets along the relay route are decorated with flags and banners. The image of Fuwa Huanhuan, who carries a torch, can be seen in uplifting banners everywhere.
Fuwa Yingying also has much photo opportunity. Qinghai is Yingying's hometown. The yellow-skinned Fuwa embodies Tibetan antelope, an endangered animal where its nature reserve Hol Xil is not far from the city.
Cega, the "Tibetan Antelope Guard", is ready to be the first torchbearer in Golmud as well as in Qinghai.
As director of the Hol Xil Natural Reserve Administration, Cega has spent more than 10 years on anti-poaching efforts.
"The Olympic Flame passes harmony, friendship and solidarity around China," said Cega, "Being a Tibetan torchbearer, I feel the warmth and unity in our 56-ethnic family."
"To the Tibetan people, the March 14 riot in Lhasa is a dishonor, a disgrace," he said.
"I was born after Tibet was liberated, but my peasant parents had told me about the distressful past before the liberation. So I know the great change between today's Tibet and the old one," he said with tears in the eyes.
"Being the first torchbearer in my hometown, I really feel the ethnic equality and the respect to Tibetan people," he added.
People put up banners and large posters with slogans like "Light the Passion, Share the Dream" and "Welcome to Golmud". One banner hang on the outside wall of a hotel is quite original, using buzz cyber language: "the Flame -- Very Good, Very Harmonious; Golmud -- Very Beautiful, Very Attractive."
Many banners are designed to show support for the people affected by the May 12 Wenchuan quake in Sichuan, like "Go China, Go Sichuan" and "Share the Olympic Spirits, Support the Quake Relief".
"The 2008 Beijing Olympics is an important thing for the Chinese people," said Yang Yang, a senior high student. "Especially after the Wenchuan quake, all the Chinese have been in solidarity."
Yang is preparing a banner with slogan "Go Olympics, Go China" with his classmates. About 40 students from his school will go to cheer for the torch relay.
The five-star red flag and the white flag printed with the Beijing Olympic emblem, "Chinese Seal: Dancing Beijing", can be seen on almost every taxi, private car and motor bike.
"I've sold many flags. The price is quite low," said Tang, a college graduate from Guangdong.
He said he had been following with the sacred flame for more than a month, by train and by bus. Selling flags was just to make up some traveling expense.
"But it's far from enough," he said. "Anyway, I just want to follow the flame to travel around my country."
Qinghai is called "China's Cistern" for it holds the source of Yangtz River, Yellow River and Lancang River (part of the river flowing out of China is known as the Mekong). It plays a key role in curbing climate change and keeping ecological balance in China and Southeast Asia.
The Kunlun jade, which is used for making Beijing Olympic medals, or "Gold Inlaid with Jade", are also produced from the province's Kunlun Mountain.
(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2008)