Ripples from the wave of anti-government protests in north Africa and the Middle East have reached as far as China. Nothing major yet, but clearly the regime is on edge.
The Associated Press reports:
Jittery Chinese authorities wary of any domestic dissent staged a concerted show of force Sunday to squelch a mysterious online call for a “Jasmine Revolution” apparently modeled after pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.
Authorities detained activists, increased the number of police on the streets, disconnected some mobile phone text messaging services and censored Internet postings about the call to stage protests at 2 p.m. in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities.
On Sunday, police took at least three people away in Beijing, one of whom tried to lay down white jasmine flowers 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.
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.
The call is likely to fuel anxiety among China’s authoritarian government, which is ever alert for domestic discontent and has appeared unnerved by recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.
Anxiety among an authoritarian government? Aww…
More from EA WorldView.
A crowd gathers in front of a McDonalds in Beijing.
In Shanghai police take away a protester from People’s Square.