Beijing Clampdown?

Is China, fearing a copycat phenomenon as popular uprisings sweep the Arab world, beginning a crackdown on advocates for human rights and religious freedom? China Aid reports that on Feb. 23 police in Yangdang, Hubei Province, raided a Christian legal center. They fired tear gas, assaulted those present and smashed the center’s equipment. And reports from China Human Rights Defender indicate that the whereabouts of several Chinese activists—last seen being hauled off by police in February—remains unknown. Accor-ding to Human Rights in China, anonymous “netizens” in mainland China, inspired by the “Flower Revolutions” in Tunisia and Egypt, broke through official Internet censorship to call for a “Jasmine Revolution” in 13 different cities. In response, H.R.I.C. reports, Chinese authorities “launched a concerted, large-scale crackdown on rights defense activists around the country, subjecting them to interrogation, house arrest and detention, with a severity rarely seen in the past few years.”

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