Chinese police face down Middle East-style protests

Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 27, 2011; 11:59 AM 

 

BEIJING — Police and security officials displayed a massive show of force here and in other Chinese cities Sunday, trying to snuff out any hint of protests modeled on the uprisings in the Middle East. In Shanghai, several hundred people trying to gather were dispersed with a water truck.

Premier Wen Jiabao, meanwhile, used a morning Internet chat to promise to purge senior officials who are corrupt and to rein in inflation and rising home prices, directly addressing some of the most common grievances of ordinary Chinese.

Since the January uprising in Tunisia spurred similar anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa, threatening long-entrenched authoritarian regimes, China’s Communist rulers have reacted nervously, with both defensive and aggressive tactics.

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