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Nearly 100 mln torchbearers carry online flame to Hangzhou Asian Games

Xinhua| Updated: September 13, 2023 L M S

While the physical torch of the 19th Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is currently being relayed across east China's Zhejiang Province, an online "digital torchbearer" relay has seen more than 97 million netizens participate as of Wednesday.

Dong Sijiao, 79, carried the Games' physical flame in Zhejiang's Shaoxing City on Monday, and she was also an online torchbearer.

Dong leads a rock band with an average age of over 70, and she and her bandmates adapted songs to celebrate the upcoming Games, volunteering to promote the online torch relay.

"Enthusiasm and confidence can also be conveyed through the online torch relay. I hope to pass on my passion to friends from all over the world," she said.

On Nov. 27, 2022, the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou Organising Committee released a digital platform for the Games, using advanced technologies such as blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence. On the platform, the torch can be carried without the limits of time and space.

The digital torchbearer relay was officially launched after the flame of the Games was lit on June 15 this year. On the digital platform, people can pass on the torch by shaking their mobile phones.

The online relay is covering huge distances, since the next digital torchbearer who takes over the torch may come from anywhere in the world. After passing on the online torch, each torchbearer can download a picture of the moment.

Gao Zhenzhou, 83, is from Changzhou City in Jiangsu Province. He participated in the first and second stages of the activity, collecting digital pictures of the online torch relay held in more than 40 countries and regions.

So far, the digital torch has been passed through Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia, beginning its third stage on Aug. 15 in China, covering former Asiad host cities Beijing and Guangzhou before arriving in Hangzhou, the host city of this year's Games.

At the opening ceremony of the Asian Games scheduled later this month, online torchbearers around the world will also work together to light the online flame.

Du Zuofeng, deputy commander of the Games' torch relay command center, said that anyone can be a torchbearer in this digital era, and that the Hangzhou Asian Games are expected to see the largest-scale torch relay and the most widespread coverage of participants in the history of the event.

The Hangzhou Asian Games will be held from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.

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