If organizers planned big protests in China to echo those in the Mideast and North Africa, they failed.
On Saturday microbloggers passed around tweets calling for protests at 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) Sunday in a dozen major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But no specific place was cited until several hours beforehand.
In Beijing, the place was supposed to be in Wangfujing, a typically busy shopping street less than a kilometer from Tiananmen Square.
Wangfujing may have been a perfect place to trigger a mass action. The four-lane street is a designated pedestrian street, with thousands of people walking there at any given business hour; no cars and buses are allowed. For decades it has been a favorite shopping district, especially for out-of-town Chinese and foreign tourists. (Locals prefer to shop elsewhere.)( Read more... )
Twitter, Facebook and You Tube are regularly blocked in China, even though savvier internet users could overcome the firewall with a VPN, or virtual private network. The popular Sina Weibo microblogging service is erratic, with retweeting and the posting of photos blocked.
Success or no, in the wake of the protests, the Chinese government blocked the word "jasmine" from all search engines. I'd say that's definitely a Pyrrhic victory at the very least. The next protest should be the Harmonious Society Protest. That would really throw the government for a loop! :D