— Published 7 September 2023

A scaled-down flame relay

Things are speeding up in Hangzhou, China, host city of the 2023 Asian Games (23 September to 8 October). At a press conference on Wednesday 6 September, the organisers announced that the torch relay would begin on Friday 8 September near the emblematic Western Lake, in the historic centre of Hangzhou. The flame will then pass through eleven cities in Zhejiang province, including Huzhou, Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Ningbo, Zhoushan, Taizhou, Wenzhou, Lishui, Jinhua and Quzhou, before returning to Hangzhou on 20 September for its final leg. In keeping with their commitment to sustainability and cost control, the Chinese organisers explain that they have kept things simple. In total, “only” 2,022 torchbearers, aged between 14 and 84, will take part in the relay. By contrast, the digital version of the relay, launched in mid-June, has figures more in keeping with Chinese-style gigantism. According to the Xinhua agency, more than 760 million people have taken part in one way or another in the online torch relay. The number of “digital torchbearers” exceeded 84 million.