Chinese receive Olympic flame

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics organisers have received the Olympic flame at a heavily-guarded Panathenaic stadium in central Athens as human rights activists called on a boycott of the Games over China's human rights record.

In a brief ceremony inside the empty stadium that hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, Beijing Games vice president Yu Zaiqing fired up a small red lantern from the flame lit on Sunday in ancient Olympia, site of the ancient Games.

The lantern will arrive in the Chinese capital later today, kicking off a domestic torch relay that ends with the Games opening ceremony on Feb. 4 as Beijing becomes the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics.

Greek police had cut off access to the stadium hours before and surrounded it with a large number of security personnel for fear of more protests, after Tibetan activists broke through a police cordon in ancient Olympia to demonstrate just as the flame was lit.

Rights groups and U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games and relocate the event unless China ends what the United States deems ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.