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Cina, polizia dappertutto contro la convocazione di una protesta in 22 città. In corso forte aumento dei prezzi

Nugoli di poliziotti in Cina per fronteggiare una convocazione tipo Egitto nelle strade di Shanghai e di altre 22 città. Giornalisti stranieri strattonati. Il regime reagisce male. A incrementare lew fragioni della protesta nascente un rilevante aumento dei prezzi in corso. L’articolo del Guardian del 27.2.2011:

China’s jasmine revolution: police but no protesters line streets of Beijing

Major show of force from Chinese authorities following anonymous call for peaceful protests

Tania Branigan, China correspondent, Sunday 27 February 2011 18.30 GMT

Police in Beijing and other cities mounted a major show of force following an anonymous call for protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings.

A US journalist was punched and kicked in the face and more than a dozen other journalists manhandled, detained or delayed as they covered the events which revealed official anxiety over similar protests against authoritarian rule in China.

Few expected Chinese citizens to answer the “jasmine revolution” appeal, which urged them to express their desire for reform by “strolling” past a McDonald’s on Wangfujing shopping street and spots in 22 other mainland cities.

In addition to the heavy police presence, street cleaning vehicles and men with brooms swept back and forth along the designated streets in Beijing and Shanghai, preventing pedestrians from slowing down. A construction site appeared on Wangfujing earlier this week, blocking off a stretch outside the hamburger bar.

Associated Press reported that Shanghai police used whistles to disperse a crowd of around 200, although it was unclear if the people were anything more than onlookers. It said officers detained at least four Chinese citizens in the city and two others in Beijing. It was not clear, however, if those detained had tried to protest.

In a statement, the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China said it was “appalled by the attack on one of our members by men who appeared to be plain clothes security officers in Beijing. This video journalist was trying to do his job when he was set upon and repeatedly punched and kicked in the face by officers as part of a general crackdown in Wangfujing following calls on the internet for a protest in this area.

“More than a dozen other journalists who went to this part of Beijing to report had problems, including being manhandled, pushed, detained and delayed by uniformed police and others,” it said.

A handful of people sought to protest last Sunday following a similar message on the overseas Boxun site. But no one knows who was behind the message – they may well be abroad – and many thought it a joke.

“The idea that a Jasmine revolution could happen in China is extremely preposterous and unrealistic,” said Zhao Qizheng, a former head of the government’s information office, according to Hong Kong’s Beijing-friendly Wen Wei Po newspaper.

Most observers – including those highly critical of the Chinese government – agree. Although China downgraded its 2011 growth forecast on Sunday – from 8% to 7% – the country continues to enjoy a remarkable economic rise that began 30 years ago and has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

In a rare webchat, the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, who is seen as the government’s sympathetic face for ordinary citizens, also stressed that controlling inflation was a priority.

“Rapid price rises have affected the public and even social stability,” he said.

Analysts agree that China is unlikely to face an uprising similar to the ones in the Middle East and North Africa. “They [the Chinese government] are delivering economic growth. Egypt did not have a leadership succession system; China does at a certain level. The army is not independent; it is under the party’s lead. China does not have al-Jazeera [television]. It’s hard to see what the commonalities are,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Yet recent days have seen possibly the harshest crackdown on dissidents and activists in years, said the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network (CHRD).

More than 100 people have been summoned or questioned and at least five detained on state security charges that can carry decade-long prison sentences. They include the high-profile blogger Ran Yunfei, from Sichuan, who friends say is held on the unusually tough charge of subverting state power.

“We arrest hundreds, even thousands, of people a day. How can we remember each one’s name? What’s certain is that if someone is arrested, he or she must have broken the law and needs to be punished accordingly,” said a provincial police spokesman.

“It’s pretty rare for criminal detention to be the final step. Usually it will lead to formal arrest and once you have that, especially in state security cases, it is almost a guarantee there will be a conviction,” said Joshua Rosenzweig of the Dui Hua foundation.

Authorities are particularly anxious because China’s annual political meetings begin in Beijing on Thursday.

The vast majority of people in China will never have seen the protest appeal thanks to one of the most extensive and sophisticated censorship systems in the world. Internet censors have tagged “Wangfujing”, “jasmine” and even, at one point, “today” as sensitive words.

Well-known Beijing blogger “Tiger Temple” said such controls have ensured that underlying political awareness does not compare to that in Egypt before the revolution.

“Chinese citizens do not even know what a citizen is – they know only that they are like lambs, the Chinese leaders are their parents, that they have enough to eat, to drink; why they should be against [the government]?” he said.

Others point out that the bloody crackdown that followed the pro-reform protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 sent a chilling message on the danger of confronting the Chinese Communist party.

“The fear factor has worked for 20 years,” said Wu’er Kaixi, a student leader now living in exile.

That movement taught the party to eradicate any challenge before it can take root. It has also systematically studied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the colour revolutions, such as those in Ukraine and Georgia.

While political demonstrations are rare in China, protests about specific grievances are growing in the country, with more than 90,000 incidents each year. Anger about corruption, land grabs, police brutality and other abuses has broken out in violent “revenge attacks” by disgruntled individuals and even mass riots.

Wang Songlian of the CHRD network pointed out that the party fears rival organisations more than discontent.

“It has been very skilful in preventing any national linkages between groups,” she said.

Some campaigners think the clampdown may not reflect nervousness over this particular call, but a broader push against newly assertive activists by an increasingly powerful and well-funded security apparatus.


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