China state media warn against protest calls in capital

BEIJING, March 5 Fri Mar 4, 2011 8:47pm EST

BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - China told its people on Saturday not to heed calls to emulate protests that have rocked the Middle East, warning that any threats to Communist Party-led stability could bring "disaster."

This was the government's most public warning yet against calls for Middle East-inspired pro-democracy protests that have spread from an overseas Chinese website, triggering tighter censorship, intense security in Beijing and new restrictions on foreign reporters.

The commentary in the Beijing Daily newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece, signaled that China's security crackdown would not let up.

"Everyone knows that stability is a blessing and chaos is a calamity," said the newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the Communist Party administration for China's capital.

The warning came on the same day as the opening of China's annual parliament in the capital, where Premier Wen Jiabao warned that inflation could corrode social stability.

Police smothered any weekend protests before they had a chance of forming, and some foreign reporters who went to the scene of the would-be gathering on the Wangfujing shopping street in downtown Beijing were beaten up.

But the commentary told citizens to beware. Hard-won order was at stake, it said.

Uprisings across the Middle East have toppled authoritarian governments in Tunisia and Egypt and now threaten to Muammar Gaddafi, the long-time strongman of Libya.

"This turmoil has brought a massive calamity to the people of these countries," said the newspaper in the commentary which was widely repeated on many Chinese state media websites.

"It is worth noting that at home and abroad some people with ulterior motives are trying to draw this chaos into China. They have used the Internet to incite illegal gatherings," it said.

"There are always some people at home and abroad who want to exploit the problems existing in our development to provoke trouble," it added, urging citizens to "conscientiously protect harmony and stability."

The protest calls in China have little chance of taking off.

Beijing has mobilised 739,000 police officers, officials, security guards and residents recruited into local patrols to guard against mishaps during the parliament, reported the official China News Service.

Police have rounded up dozens of dissidents since online messages from abroad urged pro-democracy gatherings inspired by the "Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia. Internet censorship also means that few Chinese residents are aware of the protest calls.

Chinese police have threatened to revoke the visas of dozens of foreign journalists if they continue "illegal" reporting from sites where overseas websites have called for anti-government demonstrations.

"Those people intent on concocting and finding Middle East-style news in China will find their plans come to nothing," said the Beijing Daily commentary.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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Comments (9)
marisa70394 wrote:
It’s quite amazing that Chinese officials are admitting that they have a problem with middle Eastern styled protests. Any observer would say that China is shooting itself in the foot and basically saying, “we are scared of our people.” I actually hope the people do rise up against those authoritarian thugs and demand true democracy. Everyone in the world knows how China’s leaders are hardly respected by anyone, least of all, the good people of China, and for China’s leaders to open the door and admit they have a problem should be ample invitation to for the Chinese to show their leaders who really are in charge.

Mar 04, 2011 9:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
marisa70394 wrote:
I read some other stories on this. It is again amazing how much propaganda is being spewed by China regarding these protests. They insist that such protests would ruin the country, but what they are really saying is that the Chinese Communist Party is scared witless by the power of the people. Maintaining “harmony” is nothing more that allowing the authoritarian rulers of China to continue oppressing the good people of China. They use the people of China to build up their war chests so that the CCP can subjugate the world – that’s what the real motivation of this government is.

Mar 04, 2011 10:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BeReal wrote:
Bad news hit Egypt practically every now. Is this what you call true democracy? I think the Chinese is much smarter than that. Read the news !!

Egypt has been gripped by a crime wave not seen in years, with a marked rise in armed robberies, arson and street battles between rival criminal gangs over territory. Demoralised and hated by many for their perceived brutality against protesters, security forces have yet to fully take back the streets.

Beside security, ….. The stock market has been closed for more than a month …..

Mar 04, 2011 10:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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