Thursday, May 8, 2008
Chinese media are saying that the team of Han Chinese and Tibetan Chinese climbers have reached the summit of Everest with the Olympic torch. The BBC is carrying video showing the event.
As we said in another post, there are plenty of reasons to question whether or not the attempt was indeed successful. There has been a complete blackout of information surrounding the event and no other climbers have been allowed on the mountain.
Reporters brought to the mountain have been kept entirely in the dark. In fact, as of this morning, it is not clear they have been told that the summit has been reached.
Because there was a complete dress rehearsal of the summit bid last May, there is nothing to prevent the Chinese from using footage from that event in place of this attempt.
The images and video are taken in very low visibility conditions. The Tibetan prayer flags at the summit seem right but otherwise, it's impossible to determine where the climbers really are.
The TV special where the footage was first aired was called "Sacred Flame to Scale Mt Qomolangma". Perhaps there will be copies of this 6 hour video released to the internet.
The one bright side - Many of the climbers to the summit are quite famous in the climbing world and it seems unlikely that they could be convinced to keep it secret had the attempt been faked.
In related news, the climbers on the Nepal-side of Everest have been posting protests online, including horrible stories of the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.
They claim that the Chinese have apparently launched several cyber attacks of their web sites.
Posted by quake at 9:05 AM