The Jasmine Revolution?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 20, 2011

It doesn’t amount to all that much at the moment, but something is going on in China:

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday in China’s major cities of Beijing and Shanghai but were dispersed by police in both places.

In Beijing, people gathered in front of a restaurant in Wangfujing Street, but dispersed after police came to maintain order, Xinhua reported.

People started to gather at around 2 p.m. (0600 GMT). When police tried to take away two men from the crowd soon after, the protesters were surrounded by foreign journalists holding cameras.

Police began to clear out the traffic congestion, and most of the people left by 2.50 p.m.

In Shanghai, crowds gathered around the People’s Square at the same time – around 2.00 p.m. Three people were detained by police, after a man aged around 30 began a speech at the intersection of Yunnan Zhong Road and Hankou Road.


Postings circulating on the Internet have called on disgruntled Chinese to gather on Sunday in public places in 13 major cities to mark the “Jasmine Revolution” spreading through the Middle East.

The calls have apparently led the Chinese government to censor postings containing the word “jasmine” in an attempt to quell any potential unrest.

“We welcome… laid off workers and victims of forced evictions to participate in demonstrations, shout slogans and seek freedom, democracy and political reform to end ‘one party rule’,” one posting said.

The postings, many of which appeared to have originated on overseas websites run by exiled Chinese political activists, called for protests in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and 10 other major Chinese cities.

Protesters were urged to shout slogans including “we want food to eat,” “we want work,” we want housing,” “we want justice,” “long live freedom,” and “long live democracy.”

Chinese authorities have sought to restrict media reports on the recent political turmoil that began in Tunisia as the “Jasmine Revolution” and spread to Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

The Chinese government appears to be completely on edge concerning this issue. I would say that I doubt that anything is going to happen, but that’s what people said about the Middle East, isn’t it? If my money is on the Chinese government not being threatened in the short term, I suppose that it would be because the government has shown a pronounced tendency to torture and kill dissidents, a tactic as effective in the short term as it is brutal and appalling.

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