China tries to stamp out 'Jasmine Revolution'

Hu Jintao AP – In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a speech at …

BEIJING – Authorities rounded up dozens of dissidents and cracked down on calls for a "Jasmine Revolution," which urged demonstrations in more than a dozen Chinese cities Sunday apparently modeled after the wave of pro-democracy protests sweeping the Middle East.

The source of the call was not known and many activists seemed not to know what to make of it, even as they spread the word. They said they were unaware of any known group being involved in the request for citizens to gather in 13 cities and shout, "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness."

The authoritarian government, always on guard to squelch dissent, appeared to be taking the threat of protests seriously and moved to stamp out the spread of the message that first appeared on U.S.-based Chinese-language website Boxun.com.

More than 100 activists in cities across China were taken away by police, confined to their homes or were missing, the Hong Kong-based group Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. Families and friends reported the detention or harassment of several dissidents, and some activists said they were warned not to participate Sunday.

Police pulled Beijing lawyer Jiang Tianyong into a car and drove away, said his wife, Jin Bianling. She told The Associated Press by phone Saturday night that she was still waiting for more information.

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."

Mass text messaging service was unavailable in Beijing due to "technical issues," according to a customer service operator for leading provider China Mobile. In the past, Chinese authorities have suspended text messaging in politically tense areas to prevent organizing.

On Beijing's busy Wangfujing pedestrian mall, where protesters were told to rally in front of a McDonald's restaurant, there was a heavier-than-normal police presence amid the crowds of shoppers. Along with uniformed police and "public security volunteers" wearing red armbands, plainclothes officers monitored the crowd with video and still cameras. A police surveillance van was parked across the street from the restaurant.

Boxun.com said its website was attacked by hackers 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.

China's authoritarian government has appeared unnerved by recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya. It has limited media reports, stressing the instability caused by protests in Egypt, and restricted Internet searches to keep people uninformed.

The call for a Jasmine Revolution came as President Hu Jintao gave a speech to top leaders Saturday, asking them to "solve prominent problems which might harm the harmony and stability of the society." Hu told the senior politicians and officials to provide better social services to people and improve management of information on the Internet "to guide public opinion," the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ruling Communist Party is dogged by the threat of social unrest over rising food and housing prices and other issues.

In the latest price increase, the National Development and Reform Commission announced Saturday that gasoline and diesel prices would be raised by 350 yuan ($53) per ton.

Tensions were already high in recent days after a video secretly made under house arrest by one of China's best-known activist lawyers, Chen Guangcheng, was made public. Chen and his wife reportedly were beaten in response, and some of Chen's supporters reported being detained or beaten by authorities after meeting to discuss his case.

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Associated Press writer Charles Hutzler contributed to this report.

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430 Comments

  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Jason 2 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Well where to start? This is something people should really pay attention to. Weather people see this as i do or not , i can honestly blame this on Bush for the bad. Taken out Saddam was not the answer people i know he was evil , but his evil kept everything in order over there. Now look 10 yrs later nothing solved , thousands of troops died for nothing but greed . Innocent iraq's perished to whole generation's . For freedom they still don't have , a broke country meaning ours , everyone protesting for freedom they won't have reguardless who they throw out , a new evil will step in & all will backfire for what the biggest trophy getting even with Saddam & a foot hold on their resource's . This man sits at home in Texas gets drunk & laughs about it openly admitting war crime's & no criminal action taken , but Saddam was killed by his peers hung till dead for same crime as Bush. So yes Bush changed history for the bad & now we got to deal with what's taken place now & in the future i wish us luck we will need alot of ti.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    袁木 YUAN Mu 2 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Any responsible government should take strong action to stop illegal protests.
    Egypt people suffer from chaos and disaster because the government did not act decisively to save the society from collapsing.
    Our government firmly supports the governments of Bahrain, Yemen and Libya’s effort in maintaining the social stability and national sovereignty. People making illegal protest on the street is only a small percentage of the population, a small minority of childish and ignorant school pupils, and they should not affect the entire nation in the principle of democracy. They need to be teached a lesson and educated. We teached them a good lesion in 1989 and they learned and remembered. They have stayed good since then.
    When I was working for Chinese state council in 1989, we faced the similar street demonstration. We stood firm and our People's Liberation Army smashed the demonstrators easily. Western capitalist countries tried to interfere and pressured us, but we told them firmly that it is china's internal affair and foreign interference is not allowed, and comments from foreign countries are not welcome. The government made it very clear that it is like a mother killing her own children inside her own home, it is none of the neighbor's business. It is ok for parents to kill new born baby if the baby is a female, so the couple can use the quota for a son later. As we always say, a good child of the mother will not blame the mother even if she killed a child wrongly. What we did in 1989 was very effective in restore stability of the society, and we enjoyed social stability and economic growth ever since. Now western capitalist countries all agree with our position and actions in 1989 and they all want to do business with us, borrow money from us, and become our friends. The history proved that we were right. The government of Bahrain and Libya, and all responsible governments facing similar street protests, should learn from our good example. Army of government need to use overwhelming force and fire power in order to make people leave squares and streets. It is very effective for us, and should be a good experience other government should learn. Besides, parents of these students will pull their kids home if they realize that the central government is serious about this. In china any protest and meeting in public places without government’s approval are illegal, and we do not usually approval any such applications for the stability of the leadership of the Chinese communist party, unless the event is organized by the government. Our constitution give revolutionary people freedom to meet publicly, to demonstrate, and to protest, but only if they do these things for a revolutionary course to support the Party and the country. Any such activity against the government leaded by the Communist Party, are counter-revolutionary and people involved are criminals and they do not have any rights. The governments of any sovereign country has the rights to use every means to stay stable and in power and receive the benefit of stability. I am long retired now and am not a cadre of the country any more, but I feel that the world need to understand China’s view point and to understand us.
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Bill 6 minutes ago Report Abuse
    All this new "Reckoning" on the face of the earth, and to think across 90 % of said turmoil, the populace is still a little TOO polite, and to graceful, to outwardly acknowledge to each other, "Rich People Caused This".....
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 6 users disliked this comment
    Peter 9 minutes ago Report Abuse
    20022011 One Party Policy of The People Republic of China
    The Crack down on June 4, 1989 by Chinese Government is the correct way of doing it in a situation like that.
    The Chinese Government has given over one and a half month for the kids fooling around in the square.
    No country on earth will give a small portion of criminal support by CIA trying to overturn the government in such a long periods of time.
    Looking back at Kent University incident in the 70, US Government call the National Guard in and kill its own student on their protect against Vietnam War.
    Where were you kids at time of the Kent University incident and Vietnam War, I believe you stupid, naive kids still swimming along in every ocean and river to find a dark deep channel and hide there for over nine months before you stick your head out and breath the first air.
    1989 if China is not using the Hardliner policy against this criminal support by CIA, China will fall apart like USSR.
    National Security or Internal Security is the priority of every nation. It including use of Army to assist the civilian police force to control and dissipate the protesters or demonstrators and or rioters.
    A country with a weak leader will always fall in the dirty work of CIA to become an Ally of USA.
    CIA will use them until he or she is no longer useful by CIA, than CIA will either force him out by means of protest, demonstrating or rioting in that country and place another new ally for their benefits and interest of US Government.
    You kids just go back to school and learn more about history or are kill for your new birth certificate if you are so offence of your own country policy, but keep away from our country The People Republic of China.
    China is very right of keeping as a ONE PARTY policy since its birth in 1949 and for the future.
    Without the peaceful, friendship foreign policy of the Great Older of The People Republic of China in the past.
    We the real Chinese will never be able to put our head up this date, which China has been, suppress by Western countries since 1949 and I or we in Hong Kong will never be return to the Warm Arm of our motherland in 1997.
    China, The People Republic of China should continue using the One Party Policy for the benefits, brighter future and goodwill of all Chinese.
    Bad element of the society exist in every country or nation, they represent a very small portion of that country.

    The leader of Chinese Government always take care its people first, immediately ran to the scene of disaster, helping people to organize Search and Rescue operation in the first hand, no matter how busy they are. People come first in their mind as a Good Leader..

    THE LEADER OF CHINESE GOVERNMENT ALWAYS TAKE CARE ITS PEOPLE FIRST, IMMEDIATELY RAN TO THE SCENE OF DISASTER AREA, HELPING PEOPLE TO ORGANIZE SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION IN THE FIRST HAND, SEND SOLIDIERS INTO TO ASSIST THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE RESTORING SITUATION TO NORMAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
    NO MATTER HOW BUSY THE LEADER WAS, PEOPLE COME FIRST IN THEIR MIND IN CHINA.

    WHERE YOUR LEADER AND ARMY IS WERE IN AN EMERGENCY???
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Dragon Dawn 10 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Have u been to Shanghai and see its skyline? It has made N. York twin towers area look like a slum. i not being sarcastic, just visit it, even if online.
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    wildgoose419 10 minutes ago Report Abuse
    "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness." -- Sounds like a copycat who doesn't have a real agenda on anything, but wants to take an opportunity to make some noise. No I take it back, it's a copycat who wants other people to make the noise for him.
    ... and then, lo and behold, "... many activists seemed not to know what to make of it, even as they spread the word." -- To those people who spread the word without knowing what to make of it, if you really are that enthusiastic about democracy in China, how about spreading some education?
  • 3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 3 users disliked this comment
    louis tan 11 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Another U.S. attempt at bringing down China? Most definitely. Maybe China should start selling off the U.S. bonds they are holding and let the U.S. Government crash instead? That should teach them to stop spouting nonsense and causing further chaos in an already chaotic world. For a government that has failed its people continuously, it is time for Americans to wake up to the fact that they have been thoroughly hoodwinked by their politicians, lawyers, bankers, the wealthy and their corporate chieftains. What is democracy when you have been out of a job long time, lost your homes and have no place to stay, your family always hungry and frustrated, your children cannot afford school and tuition, your government continues to cut social spending while the rich gets richer. How does that compare with China which is trying their best to develop the country and provide for the people? No one in China goes hungry and is without food because the State provides the social help. Like Art & Music, ideological full Democracy is only for the well-off who have the spare time and money to appreciate and buy. A country can only reach that stage when most of the people are reasonably comfortable with their lives; ie. thay have reasonably good paying jobs, a home and money to spare. China is no-where near that stage. So, to promote this idea of democracy is to ignore this fact and any attempt at pushing this ideology on the masses in a country that is not ready is with the intent of creating political, social and economic problems in the target country. What role does the U.S.A play in this? A most machiaevillian, destructive and self-serving one.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    jebs 11 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Abviously, They keyword "Jasmine" was block in China's internet circle since its considered as a political word by context. How about try changing it ""Aladin"?
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Josh L 11 minutes ago Report Abuse
    I can't imagine 1.3 billion people can be kept under an iron fist forever.
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Hakaida666 12 minutes ago Report Abuse
    You know what that sound is? That's the sound of a real socialist revolution going on in China.

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