The 2008 Paralympics torch was lit during a ceremony at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven on Thursday, Reuters reported. Despite some hazy weather earlier in the day, there was sufficient sun to light a wick placed in a concave mirror set before the circular Prayer Hall for Good Harvests. Wheelchair-bound Paralympic fencer Jin Jing passed the flame to Beijing Olympic chief Liu Qi, who then handed it to Premier Wen Jiabao. Wen lit the cauldron and announced the start of the torch relay, which was celebrated with a traditional Chinese dance by disabled performers. On Friday the torch is scheduled to arrive in Xi’an in Shanxi province and from there it will move on to Shenzhen in Guangdong. The Paralympic Games are due to start in Beijing on September 6 and run through to September 17. The international leg of the Olympic torch relay was marred by protesters angry at China’s suppression of violence in Tibet.
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