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Nothing to See Here: China Has Yet to Approve a Single Protest

Chinese athletes may be winning more gold medals than any other Olympic team, but the country's protesters haven't won an ounce of government approval. China got a pat on the back when the country agreed to special protest areas in three parks during the Olympics. Well, it appears China had a trick up its sleeve when it made that concession: so far none of the 77 protest applications have been approved.

Activists can't just wing it in China. The government has strict guidelines for potential protesters — applicants must provide the types of posters and slogans to be used, how many people will participate, and the names and addresses of the organizer. According to China's demonstration law, applications can also be rejected if the protest could harm national sovereignty or unity, or if police suspect it will undermine public order. To see what Beijing officials say about the lack of protests,


Beijing's public security bureau spokesperson claims that the submitted disputes involved work, health, and welfare issues, which could be better dealt with by the "relevant authorities or departments through consultation." Independent sources, however, say that rejected protesters also wanted to vent about the demolition of their homes, unfair treatment by officials, and shoddy school construction that led to the deaths of children during the earthquake. Although no spokesperson has admitted it, the Chinese government allegedly has arrested some protesters simply for submitting applications.

It now seems redundant that the Chinese government forbids its national media to interview or cover events in the protest parks. Are you surprised that the protest-friendly areas have turned out to be a sham so far?

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