The Tibet killings that Fueled Olympic torch
The campaigners are protesting against China's human rights record
and its crackdown on pro-independence activists in Tibet.
Security forces have locked down Tibet and neighbouring provinces
to quell anti-Chinese protests and riots which started in mid-March.
Chinese authorities say 22 died in Lhasa on March 14, but the
Tibetan government-in-exile says up to 140 were killed in the riots
and the government's ensuing crackdown.
The unrest in the Himalayan region has focused increased international
scrutiny and criticism on China in the run-up to this summer's
China plans to take the Olympic torch to Tibet twice in the months
ahead. It will be taken up Everest in early May, and through Lhasa
China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans
say their homeland was essentially an independent state for most
of that time.
Chinese communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues
to rule the region with a heavy hand.
Beijing has repeatedly accused the Tibetan spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama and his supporters of orchestrating the recent violence
- the longest and most sustained challenge to China's 57-year rule
in the Tibetan region.
Protesters also want to draw attention to China's alleged torture
and imprisonment of religious and political dissidents.
China has more executions than any other country in the world,
for crimes ranging from fraud to murder. It routinely jails citizens
who criticise the regime.
An unprecedented security blanket will be draped across San Francisco
for the US leg of the Olympic flame's global relay here Wednesday
amid worldwide condemnation of China's crackdown in Tibet and its
human rights record ahead of the summer games in Beijing.
Several hundred police officers are expected to line the streets
for the appearance of the torch, which has been trailed by protesters
since it was lit in Greece a week ago at the start of a 85,000-mile,