Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PRO DEMOCRACY DEMONSTATIONS IN CHINA

SHER AGRAWAL

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China - Hundreds join 'Jasmine Revolution'

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sri venkat Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 7:55 PM
Bcc: agrasen@gmail.com
Hundreds join 'Jasmine Revolution'

Staff Reporters in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong

http://topics.scmp.com/news/china-news-watch/article/Hundreds-join-Jasmine-Revolution

Feb 21, 2011

A shopper walks past police as they stand guard outside a McDonald's
restaurant in central Beijing.

Crowds turned out in Beijing and Shanghai city centres yesterday,
following an online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" in 13 cities in
response to pro-democracy protests across the Middle East.

Nervous that the gatherings might turn into larger protests, the
authorities went on high alert.

Tens of thousands of police and state security agents were mobilised
to quell the gatherings.

More than 20 mainland cities, including Tianjin , Chengdu and
Guangzhou, stepped up security measures, with state security, police
and armed forces ordered to stand by in case of emergency, according
to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy.

Universities in Shaanxi and Jiangsu were ordered to shut their gates
to prevent students from leaving campus, it reported.

Rights group China Human Rights Defenders said at least 70 to 80
people across the country had their freedom of movement restricted by
police over the weekend. Some were detained at police stations, while
others were put under house arrest or forcibly taken out of their
homes by police.

Among them were Beijing-based rights lawyers Teng Biao , Jiang
Tianyong and Xu Zhiyong .

Teng's wife said state security police summoned him on Saturday
afternoon and later returned to confiscate his computer and various
documents.

They were among a handful of lawyers detained late last week when they
held a gathering to discuss how to help Chen Guangcheng , a blind
activist whose family has been put under house arrest for five months
since his release from prison.

In Beijing, hundreds gathered outside a McDonald's restaurant on the
busy Wangfujing pedestrian shopping street at around 2pm yesterday
despite a heavy police presence, said witnesses and Xinhua.

Police dispersed the crowd within an hour, although a few bystanders
remained. Xinhua issued an English-language dispatch, saying police
took away two men. At one point, someone scattered several white
flowers on the ground outside the restaurant.

One man picked up a flower and as he was about to use his mobile
phone, he was taken away by police. He scuffled briefly with them.

"Why are you arresting me?" he protested loudly in front of reporters.
"I'm just here to do shopping."

Some at the scene said they were curious about the mysterious online
call for a rally, while others appeared to be just inquisitive
passers-by.

"I see hope today as there are so many young people here," said a
37-year-old teacher who declined to give his name. But he said he did
not think the Middle East pro-democracy movement would spread to
China.

Beijing resident Xu Chongyang, 54, who stood outside McDonald's for
three hours, said he was surprised by the number of people who showed
up.

He believed it was a wake-up call for the government, saying it should
address the country's rising social tensions. A staff member at
Dongcheng district police station refused to respond to a reporter's
question yesterday.

In Shanghai, more than 100 people turned up at the Peace Cinema, near
the People's Square and at least three people were taken away by
police, said a local resident.

One man started delivering a speech but left when police came, Xinhua
said in an English-language dispatch. Police dispersed the crowd
within an hour, it said.

Dozens of activists and reporters followed officers and two people
they detained back to a police station and stood outside.

Two protested outside the police station and one was taken away.

"I am here to demand that they end the one-party rule as soon as
possible ... so they won't be able to carry out arbitrary arrests any
more," one man told reporters.

Officials at the Huangpu district's public security bureau could not
be reached for comment yesterday.

In Guangzhou, few people turned up at the People's Park, where a rally
initiated online was supposed to take place, but there were at least
500 uniformed police officers and 30 police vehicles at the scene,
guarding the park's gates and Metro station exits. A student told TVB
news he was disappointed by the lack of support.

"There are myriad social problems. We should let the leadership know,"
he said, with his back facing the camera.

Meanwhile, Guangzhou-based lawyer Liu Shihui was attacked yesterday by thugs.

He told reporters they put a rice bag over him and beat and kicked him
on the floor. Guangzhou police refused to comment.

In Hong Kong, a group of about 20 activists from the League of Social
Democrats staged a rally outside the Beijing authorities'
representative office to show support for the "Jasmine Revolution".

Led by party chairman Andrew To Kwan-hang as well as party legislator
"Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, the protesters shouted slogans "Long live
democracy" and "Long live the people's revolution" as they tossed
paper drawings of jasmine flowers into the Beijing Liaison Office
compound in Western.

Copyright (c) 2011. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All
rights reserved.




--
Dalai Lama on Indian Civilization

Praising India, he said it didn't need to look out for answers.
"Indian civilization, when compared to the western and Chinese
civilizations, is much more sophisticated. It is the world's
treasure." He repeatedly described himself as a chela of Indian
tradition. "I describe Indians as the guru, we (Tibetans) are chelas
of Indian guru," he said. "Essentially we learn from you."



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