Jasmine Revolution. Those two words simply uttered online elicit enough fear in Chinese leaders’ hearts to throw the writer in jail.
Online activists have long been at risk in China but the recent spate of arrests — following online calls for a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in China — has gotten out of hand. Chinese authorities are not only detaining seasoned dissidents; they are trying to silence a whole new generation of online activists.
More than 100 activists, many of them active on Twitter and blogging networks, have been detained, subjected to monitoring and intimidation by the security forces, or have gone missing since late February. The sweep is the worst since 2009 when thousands were detained following deadly riots in Urumqi.
The call for a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in February consisted of online instructions to ‘stroll’ through designated public places on Sunday afternoons. Faced with a large state security presence, no significant gatherings took place.