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China protest call check

Beijing/ Shanghai, Feb 27 (Reuters) : An online call for anti-government protests across China on Sunday instead brought an emphatic show of force by police determined to deter any buds of the kind of unrest that has shaken West Asia.        

Lines of police checked passers-by and warned away foreign photo journalists in downtown Beijing and Shanghai after a US-based Chinese website spread calls for people to emulate the “Jasmine Revolution” sweeping West Asia and stage gatherings in support of democratic change.

The ruling Communist Party has dismissed the idea that it could be hit by protests such as those across West Asia.        

But a rash of detentions and censorship of online discussion of West Asia have shown that Beijing is deeply nervous about any signs of opposition to its one-party rule.        

What started as a call for protest has instead become an opportunity for the Chinese government to brandish the big and sophisticated security forces funded by rapid economic growth.

In Shanghai, the police bundled away at least seven men, one of whom had been taking photos.

In Beijing, uniformed policemen were joined by plainclothes officers who kept shoppers and journalists moving. Men in sanitation uniforms with armbands that said “public security volunteer” used brooms to sweep pedestrians along.        

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