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China Tightens  Everest Access for Olympic Torch Relay

China has put in place tougher rules on access to the Tibetan side of Mount Everest next year as part of preparation to take the Olympic torch to the summit of the world's highest mountain. The new regulations, which include stricter background checks on foreign climbers, follow threats by Tibetan independence activists to step up protest the Chinese occupation. Chinese official "will not limit expeditions, but they will vet the expedition teams," the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Ang Tsering Shapa, told AFP. " The main purpose is to run the Olympic smoothly without problems. That is their main concern," said Sharpa, who was informed of the new rules during a recent meeting with Chinese representative on planning for the 2008 Everest climbing season. The Chinese new restrictions did not apply for the Nepali side mountain, media reported.