Is China’s “Jasmine Revolution” a Clever Fake-Out?

Amazing article from Barbara Demick in the LA times, who basically argues that calls for weekly “strolls” by Chinese dissident bloggers have been an elaborate ruse to bait Chinese security forces into an overblown response:

The crackdown has only emboldened the organizers of the protests, who remain anonymous and appear to be operating from outside China. For this weekend, they’ve named 55 locations in 41 cities, all popular gathering places, such as aStarbucks in Guangzhou and a spot in front of the statue of Mao Tse-tung in Chengdu.

“The Chinese government is its own worst enemy,” said Minxin Pei, a Chinese-born political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. “You can see that the level of paranoia and insecurity at the top levels of the Chinese government is truly beyond what you would imagine.”

What makes the 2 p.m. Sunday demonstrations so difficult to stop is that the organizers of the so-called jasmine revolution, so named in homage to the Middle East and North African uprisings, are simply asking people to come out and stroll, thus circumventing the bans on public protest in China.

If the original goal was just to spook the government into freaking out, then it seems to be working.

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