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Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 | 13:08 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 | 13:08 | SYDNEY

Keeping Beijing's protest parks empty



19 August 2008 10:12

Yesterday, I was reading Nicholas Kristof's humorous account of his attempt to apply for a protest permit in Beijing. He writes:

Following government instructions, I showed up at an office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, found Window 12 and declared to the officer, “I’m here to apply to hold a protest.”

What I didn’t realize is that Public Security has arrested at least a half-dozen people who have shown up to apply for protest permits. Public Security is pretty shrewd. In the old days it had to go out and catch protesters in the act. Now it saves itself the bother: would-be protesters show up at Public Security offices to apply for permits and are promptly detained. That’s cost-effective law enforcement for you.

Reading the piece, I thought surely there are some activists persistent enough to get their application approved? Well not according to this story. It claims:

Beijing city authorities say they have received 77 applications for demonstrations in the specially designated Olympic protest parks but none have been cleared to take place. According to China's Xinhua news agency, 74 of the applications have been withdrawn because the problems have already been ironed out through consultation.

Sounds like China could have disposed with the idea of 'protest parks' and settled for something a little smaller...a cell?

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