Canada

Disruptions of torch relay 'disgusting': Chinese ambassador

China's ambassador to Canada on Tuesday called recent protests of the torch relay leading up to the Beijing Olympics "disgusting" sabotage.

China's ambassador to Canada on Tuesday called protests of the torch relay leading up to the Beijing Olympics "disgusting" sabotage.

"What we see with all these disruptions and sabotage by those who demonstrate … is a disgusting matter," Lu Shumin, China's ambassador to Canada, said in an interview from Ottawa with CBC's Peter Mansbridge on Tuesday evening.

Ever since the beginning of the Olympic torch relay in Ancient Olympia, Greece, late last month, protesters have disrupted the worldwide trek —prompting the International Olympic Committee to mull a cancellation of the relay's entire international leg.

Pro-Tibet activists interrupted Olympic torch runs in London and Paris, and are expected to do the same for the only North American stop in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Shumin said he was not surprised by the recent spate of demonstrations, saying they were "well-planned."

He added that the protests show the world "who is upholding the peace and harmony and who is sabotaging peace and harmony."

Asked about whether China will speak with the Dalai Lama, Shumin reiterated the Chinese position that the door is open to talks but only if the Dalai Lama recognizes Tibet as part of China and gives up his separatist activities.

The torch relay is scheduled to stop in 20 countries and stretch across 137,000 kilometres in an attempt to make it the longest Olympic torch run ever staged.

But activists opposed to China's policies toward Tibet and the recent crackdown on demonstrators in the region could derail those plans. The IOC's executive board plans to discuss whether to abandon the relay's international leg at a meeting on Friday.

The last segment of the torch run through Paris on Monday was cancelled after thousands of anti-China protesters repeatedly stopped the procession.

The day before, police scuffled with protesters in London where one demonstrator tried to grab the torch and another tried to snuff it out.

On Tuesday, the torch arrived under heavy security in San Francisco, its only North American stop. But protests began even before the torch's arrival with three activists climbing the Golden Gate Bridge's suspension cables and unfurling anti-China banners.

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