China Jasmine Protests, Round 2: Wangfujing Locked Down
UPDATE, 9:10 A.M. EST: The Telegraph’s Adam Dean has since been released. He has uploaded his pictures from today here. As of two hours ago Stephen Engle was spotted looking “black & blue” at the police station as he filed a complaint.
Elsewhere in China, reports indicate that Shanghai’s turnout was far greater — said to be over 1,000 strong, or ten times that of the crowd on February 20. China Censorship Watch has directed our attention to two videos uploaded from Shanghai.
A side note: it seems that street cleaning has been a major motif in today’s events. In Shanghai, street cleaning vehicles were used to disperse crowds, forcing them to the edges of the street. Similarly in Beijing, “a mysteriously large group of orange-clad street sweepers stood near the appointed protest area with brooms but did not sweep the street.” The political metaphor almost writes itself.
The next round of protests is slated for March 5.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
Not long after China’s Wen Jiabao stressed the need for social stability during an online forum talk this Sunday, hundreds of the People’s Armed Police and more than 120 vehicles were aptly seen guarding Beijing’s Wangfujing pedestrian shopping district, ensuring that there would not be another repeat of last week’s “jasmine” protests.
Though bystanders report “absence of any sign of protest,” confused McDonalds diners nevertheless found themselves locked indoors and tourists to the area were promptly turned away. In their stead, a water truck passed by KFC several times, somberly patrolling the street. Police dogs also helped to scatter gathering crowds.
The entire area, as of now, is in full lockdown mode. Like “jasmine” — and more recently, the Chinese name of U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr. (who was spotted at last week’s protest) — “Wangfujing” has become a term that can no longer be searched on China’s microblogging service Sina Weibo. Doing so returns a message that states: “According to relevant laws and policies, search results cannot be shown.”
The Chinese authorities’ clever tactic has been to clamp down on the Internet (as always), but now also the foreign journalist presence. Tom Van de Weghe of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT noted:
Worse, Bloomberg TV‘s Stephen Engle has reportedly been “badly beaten up by thugs,” not long after he filmed The Telegraph’s Adam Dean “being led away.” In total, at least three foreign photographers were “beaten by men believed to be plainclothes police on Wangfujing. One hospitalized,” according to The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon. (Correction: Gady Epstein clarifies that two photographers were manhandled, and one beaten (Engle). Engle sought medical help “on his own power.” No one from the scene was actually hospitalized.) The Globe and Mail‘s Mark MacKinnon perhaps summarized the situation best:
(via #cn227 on Twitter)
As always, Taiwan’s Next Media Animation provides a hyperbolic but enjoyable summary of the events that led up to China’s version of the Jasmine Revolution.
Previously on 21CB: China Cracks Down on Imitation of the “Jasmine Revolution”
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TAGS: Beijing • China Jasmine Revolution • Chinese democracy • Foreigners • Twitter • Wangfujing Jasmine Revolution
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