China tries to stamp out 'Jasmine Revolution' | world | Hindustan Times
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China tries to stamp out 'Jasmine Revolution'

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.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2011 23:30 IST
Cara Anna

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 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 US-based Chinese 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.

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. In the past, Chinese authorities have suspended text messaging in politically tense areas to prevent organising.