(Reuters) - The Olympic flame started its journey through Hong Kong on Friday, the first leg of its China tour after its controversial 20-nation world tour.
The torch relay has endured the most tortuous journey of its history, dogged by anti-China protests that in turn prompted patriotic rallies by overseas Chinese.
Here is a recap of its international voyage.
* March 24, 2008: Human rights protesters breach security to try to disrupt the torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece, home of the ancient Olympics.
* March 30: Small group of Tibet activists try to stop flame entering Athens stadium for handover to Chinese officials.
* April 6: Thousands of protesters wave Tibetan flags and shout anti-China slogans as the relay passes through London. One man gets his hands on the torch before being wrestled to the ground. The torch is hurried on to a bus when about 100 protesters rush towards it.
* April 7: Paris officials extinguish the flame at least twice and carry the torch by bus when protesters try to seize it.
* April 9: San Francisco changes torch route at the last minute, wrong-footing thousands of protesters and counter-protesters lining the original planned route.
* April 17: Thousands of exiled Tibetans take part in a parallel relay, as the torch is paraded in New Delhi. Some 15,000 Indian police and guards keep watch.
* April 19: In Bangkok, about 200 China supporters taunt scores of pro-Tibet demonstrators along the route.
* April 24: More than 10,000 Chinese Australians stage the biggest pro-Beijing rally of the relay in Canberra. Chinese six-deep line the 16-km (10-mile) route.
* April 26: Chinese students scuffle with pro-Tibet protesters and Japanese nationalists during the relay through Nagano.
* April 27: Thousands of Chinese outnumber South Koreans along the flame’s route in Seoul. At one point, Chinese students kick an elderly South Korean protester and hurl rocks at a group holding banners chastising Beijing.
* April 28: Tens of thousands of North Koreans greet the torch in textbook rallies in Pyongyang, the relay’s first trouble-free leg.
* April 29: Chinese and Vietnamese hail the torch’s peaceful night-time journey through Ho Chi Minh City.
Writing by Candida Ng, Singapore Editorial Reference Unit