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Chinese Stamp Out Attempt At Protests

From a non-judgmental Associated Press:

Plain clothes police officers detain Liu Xiaobai for placing a white jasmine flower on a planter in front of a McDonald’s restaurant that was a planned protest site in Beijing, China, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.

China stamps out attempt at Mideast-style protests

By Anita Chang, Associated Press Sun Feb 20, 2011

BEIJING – Jittery Chinese authorities staged a show of force to squelch a mysterious online call for a "Jasmine Revolution," with hundreds of onlookers but only a handful of people actively joining protests inspired by pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.

Authorities detained activists Sunday, increased the number of police on the streets, disconnected some cell phone text messaging services and censored Internet postings about the call to stage protests in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities.

It probably helps China to be so tied in with Google and other major Western internet players.

Police took at least three people away in Beijing, one of whom tried to place white jasmine flowers on a planter while hundreds of people milled about the protest gathering spot, outside a McDonald’s on the capital’s busiest shopping street. In Shanghai, police led away three people near the planned protest spot after they scuffled in an apparent bid to grab the attention of passers-by.

Many activists said they didn’t know who was behind the campaign and weren’t sure what to make of the call to protest, which first circulated Saturday on the U.S.-based Chinese-language news website Boxun.com.

The unsigned notice called for a "Jasmine Revolution" — the name given to the Tunisian protest movement — and urged people "to take responsibility for the future." Participants were urged to shout, "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness" — a slogan that highlights common complaints among Chinese.

China’s authoritarian government is ever alert for domestic discontent and has appeared unnerved by protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya. It has limited media reports about them, stressing the instability caused by the protests, and restricted Internet searches to keep Chinese uninformed about Middle Easterners’ grievances against their autocratic rulers

As we reported at the time, the Chinese blocked news about the Iranian uprisings after their elections in 2009. As did the workers paradise of Cuba.

Police stepped up their presence near major public squares and canceled holidays for officers across 20 cities in response to the protest appeal, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

Extensive Internet filtering and monitoring meant that most Chinese were unlikely to know about the call to protest Sunday. Boxun.com is blocked, as are Twitter and Facebook, which were instrumental in Egypt’s protest movement. Tech-savvy Chinese can circumvent controls, but few of the country’s Internet users seek out politically subversive content

Ahead of the planned protests, human rights groups estimated that anywhere from several dozen to more than 100 activists in cities across China were detained by police, confined to their homes or were missing. Families and friends reported the detention or harassment of several dissidents, and some activists said they were warned not to participate.

On Sunday, searches for "jasmine" were blocked on China’s largest Twitter-like microblog, and status updates with the word on popular Chinese social networking site Renren.com were met with an error message and a warning to refrain from postings with "political, sensitive … or other inappropriate content."

Boxun.com said its website was attacked Saturday after it posted the call to protest. A temporary site, on which users were reporting heavy police presence in several cities, was up and running Sunday. The site said in a statement it had no way of verifying the origins of the campaign.

Don’t worry, Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton will condemn China’s censorship in the strongest language. Any minute now.

Though you know they are trying to figure out how they do it.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, February 21st, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Chinese Stamp Out Attempt At Protests”

  1. Right of the People says:

    “Don’t worry, Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton will condemn China’s censorship in the strongest language. Any minute now.”

    No they won’t, they don’t the Chinese to call in their loans. Obummer and the Hildabeast need the money to complete the O’ster’s plans.

  2. canary says:

    Bet Obama’s half-brother who graduated from California college and moved to China isn’t protesting.
    They share the love of communism gene, though different white American mothers….

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