Olympic torch relay gets underway

The Associated Press
First torch bearer Luo Zhihuan and his wife poses with the torch at the start of the torch relay for the 2022 Winter Olympics at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing on Wednesday.

BEIJING — The Beijing Winter Olympic torch relay got underway in the host city on Wednesday morning with tight measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The relay has been limited to just three days, up to the opening ceremony of the Games on Friday. The route for some 1,200 scheduled torchbearers will be cordoned off from the public.

The relay started at Beijing’s Olympic Forest Park near the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, and runs through three areas — Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

Much of the route — including the Great Wall, a World Heritage site — will be strictly limited to staff.

The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic torch relay included locations in China and abroad, and consumed more than four months. During that relay, demonstrators took to the streets at many locations in protest of the Chinese government’s suppression of a mass Tibetan uprising.

Some observers said the torch relay this time was scaled down to prevent similar protests against human rights issues in China as well as to reduce the possibility of interference in the event.