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China's Empty Protest Zones

August 27, 2008

Radio Free Asia
August 25, 2008

Chinese authorities set aside portions of three Beijing parks as
"protest zones" to allow local residents to voice their grievances
alongside the now-concluded Olympic Games. But protests, well, not so
much. Instead, reports of intimidation, detentions, and
disappearances have leaked out from those who trekked to the Public
Security Bureau to apply for protest permits.

Official media said 77 protest permit applications were submitted,
but 74 applicants withdrew their requests, two applications required
additional paperwork, and one was rejected on legal grounds.

Police attributed the lack of demonstrations to a good "social environment."

One group of petitioners who had traveled to Beijing from Shanghai,
demanding justice following illegal seizures of their home, was
detained and forced to return home under guard.

Two elderly women, protesting false claims of compensation by the
government for being relocated from their homes in a neighborhood
just south of Tiananmen Square, were told by the Public Security
Bureau that they would be sent to labor camps if they continued their
attempts to apply for demonstration permits.
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