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Chinese official: Protests will 'never happen' in Beijing

From Jaime FlorCruz, CNN
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China on alert over domestic instability
  • Chinese official says people trying to spark protests are "harboring illusions"
  • Authorities deploy heavy security in major streets
  • Calls for protests fail ; China tightens rules on foreign reporters

Beijing (CNN) -- A Beijing official blamed attempts to spark protests in China on people "harboring illusions," saying citizens will not take to the streets because they want stability.

"Certain people at home and abroad are using the internet to instigate illegal gatherings in China and play the so-called street politics," said Wang Hui, director of the Information Office in Beijing.

"But sober-minded people can see that they have chosen the wrong place. It will never happen in Beijing."

In recent weeks, there have been anonymous calls online for people to gather in public places in Beijing and a dozen other Chinese cities in what would be akin to the "Jasmine Revolution" that has hit parts of the Middle East.

China worried about spread of unrest
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There have been no visible signs of street protests, but Chinese authorities have taken measure to avert them.

Authorities have deployed heavy security in major streets, especially in Wangfujing, a busy shopping street in downtown Beijing. Wangfujing is one of the places designated for street protests.

China has also tightened rules on foreign reporters, explicitly warning them that they risk detention, suspension of press cards and expulsion if they show up at proposed protest sites.

"The people want stability. Those who wish to bring chaos here are harboring illusions," Wang said at a news conference in the Chinese capital. "They are doomed to fail."

Last Sunday, some reporters were reportedly man-handled and detained in Wangfujing. Among them was a Bloomberg journalist who was reportedly beaten up by anonymous men.

Wang said authorities are investigating the incident, but declined to comment further.

"The city government puts great attention to this case," Wang said. "We do not wish such incidents to happen."

Beijing officials distributed reprinted copies of reporting regulations in China, but said the rules have not changed.

"The important matter is that reporters must obtain prior consent from individuals, institutions and work units that you wish to interview," said Li Hongliang, deputy director of the city's foreign affairs office. "We welcome foreign correspondents to report in Beijing and present the international community a true image of China."

Authorities now require foreign journalists to first submit formal applications before reporting in downtown Beijing.

Li urged journalists to abide by Chinese regulations.