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Alternative torch tours tout political efforts

Darfur, Tibet, and Falun Gong are among the awareness campaigns.

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Wrapped in the Flag: Tibetan exiles carried the 'Tibet independence torch' in New Delhi on March 30. Their parallel torch relay was to protest China's crackdown in Tibet.

Mustafa Quraishi/AP

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As the official Olympic torch tour begins, various political activist groups around the globe have developed their own torch campaigns.

Tibet

Tibetan exiles in India began a global torch relay on March 25 with a symbolic "Olympic" flame, organizers said. The exiles planned to highlight their people's plight under Chinese rule with the relay and stage their own version of the Olympics from May 15-25 in Dharmsala.

The president of the Tibetan Youth Congress said the torch would travel to the United States, France, Australia, Japan, and Nepal. The planned relay would conclude in Lhasa on Aug. 8.

Darfur

Another symbolic relay aimed at ending abuses in the Darfur region of Sudan, an ally of China, began Aug. 13, 2007.

"We are doing this torch ... to also represent peace and brotherhood for the people of Darfur," said Jill Savitt, an organizer with Dream for Darfur.

The Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay concluded its US tour on Dec. 10, 2007, in Washington D.C. The torch was also scheduled to visit genocide sites in Rwanda, Armenia, Bosnia, Germany, and Cambodia.

Falun Gong

The human rights torch was lighted in Athens on Aug. 9, 2007, with a relay planned for 100 cities worldwide.

Organizers said the Human Rights Torch Relay seeks to end human rights abuses against the people of China, highlighting the persecution of Falun Gong.


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