The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia was the start of a big chain reaction. Once the Jasmine Revolution took off, other countries followed suit, with the biggest example coming in Egypt. Now that the spirit of protests and marches has gotten as far as Wisconsin, many wonder if a full-fledged movement is under way. China has already proved it is worried about it, as it is using its control of the Internet to monitor chatter. As such, the mere mention of a Jasmine Revolution has brought out a new crackdown, online and offline.
Chinese activists have been accused of using the Internet to organize rallies for today. The alleged call was meant to gather people in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other cities, and have them march against the Communist government.
They called this a Jasmine Revolution, after the protests that started a new wave of marches. Weeks ago, the people of Tunisia began to rally against their leaders, in a movement credited for subsequent marches in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and more. It has even come home to America, as Wisconsin workers have been rallying against a controversial budget bill for almost a week.
Of course, the circumstances in Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin and other areas are far different. Even if it isn’t a coincidence that these rallies are happening at once, there’s no way to know if this can spark a more global movement. Yet China is not willing to put up with the slightest hint of dissent, so it is on high alert.
As such, it is trying to stop its own Jasmine Revolution before it starts, as it is deleting any mention of these words from websites. It has also arrested activists, and people were detained just for laying down white jasmine flowers in Beijing.
China has even tighter control over the Internet than Egypt, as its censorship is harder to get around. The Egyptian and Middle Eastern people were able to get around the loss of Internet service, but the Chinese people are more unlikely to get away with it. However, the reports of this latest crackdown are helping to get the message across.
While this Jasmine Revolution has little hope of catching on in China like it did in Tunisia, it serves as a more symbolic sign. If the seeds of protest are even starting to grow in China, it stands to wonder where else it could go. Some movements may obviously be more successful than others, but more and more might be willing to give it a shot now.
The Jasmine Revolution was scheduled to gather at 2 p.m. Chinese time. Even if there’s not much of a rally today, the mere idea of it, and the efforts to quell it out, has made enough of a statement.
Associated Press- “China tries to stamp out ‘Jasmine Revolution'”
Washington Post- “China cracks down on call for ‘Jasmine Revolution'”