A new round of calls for protests in China went out Tuesday on Facebook, raising eyebrows and sparking more conspiracy theories about the exact origin of these ongoing cries for mass dissent that hasn’t materialized.
China watchers have questioned whether the spectacularly orchestrated overreaction of Beijing police to foreign journalists on Sunday might have been part of a training exercise, preparing security for real dissent and mass protests, should China ever follow the lead of the Arab world. Within less than two hours on Sunday, plainclothes security severely beat a Bloomberg journalist, roughed up several others and detained more than a dozen news crews – specifically targeting those with cameras. The United States and the European Union have condemned the attacks, while China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday refused to decry the violence and detentions.
The incidents erupted after officers called reporters on Friday and Saturday warning them away from the planned protest site Sunday, issuing a veritable invitation to curious journalists. Certain reporters appear to have been specifically targeted by plainclothes police who escalated situations until uniformed officers arrived.
And while a few hundred actual protesters did turn out in Shanghai on Sunday, Beijing’s second attempt at “Jasmine Revolution” seemed to draw only cops and reporters. With China’s all-important annual National People’s Congress opening this weekend, it’s certain the security apparatus isn’t going to stand down and allow demonstrations.