The Olympic flame entered Beijing on Wednesday ahead of the Winter Games as China faces protester calls for the event to be boycotted due to human rights abuses.
The flame was lit after Communist Party Secretary Cai Qi received the torch in a ceremony at the airport, The Associated Press reported.
The Winter Games are set to take place in February, marking the first time a city has hosted both the summer and winter Olympics.
The Olympic flame came from Athens, Greece, where protests were held over the event with banners reading "No Genocide Games,” Reuters reported.
Tsela Zoksang and Joey Siu, two Americans, were both arrested earlier this week in Athens after climbing up a building to reveal their signs against the Beijing Olympics.
Many human rights groups and others have been calling for the Beijing Olympics to be boycotted due to China’s treatment of minority groups and protesters.
Other countries, including the U.S., have labeled China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs a genocide as evidence has risen that Uyghurs have been taken to work camps and tortured.
”The IOC is sending the world a message that it is OK to turn a blind eye to genocide and crimes against humanity in Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia,” Siu said.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that while they can assure there will be no human rights abuses at the Games, they can’t tell China how to govern themselves.
“The IOC’s remit is to ensure that there is no human rights abuses in respect of the conduct of the games within the National Olympic Committee, or within the Olympic movement,” IOC Vice President John Coates said at a press conference.
“We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do. ... We are not a world government,” Coates added.