BEIJING – Public security authorities in Chinese cities on Friday warned against holding unauthorized demonstrations as access was cut to several Internet bulletin boards containing messages supporting anti-Japan protests.
Beijing is apparently trying to tighten controls in anticipation of more anti-Japan rallies rumored to be organized for the weekend.
Public security bureaus in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan in central Hubei Province issued identical statements on their Web sites, saying that any protests held without state permission are illegal.
People who hold rallies without permission or “endanger public safety or take actions that disrupt social order” during permitted rallies will be held legally responsible, according to the statements issued by the bureaus’ spokesmen.
The messages also call on students, who made up a large proportion of the protesters at last weekend’s rallies, to “express their feelings through calm and rational means” and to turn their “strong patriotic feelings” into energy for work and study.
The warnings came as messages on Internet bulletin boards called for a new round of anti-Japan protests, following those held last weekend.
A march last Saturday in Beijing resulted in damage to Japanese diplomatic compounds and Japanese restaurants.
Access to some of the Internet bulletin boards was unavailable on Friday. But those still open showed that calls were continuing for demonstrations to be held at a minimum of 13 locations.
One organizer said a protest was being planned for Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the site of bloody crackdown on prodemocracy demonstrators in 1989. Calls are being made for at least several hundred to attend the rally, which will begin at 9 a.m., the organizer said.
Foreign embassies in the capital issued warnings to its citizens.
The Japanese Embassy urged caution in its statement, saying the situation remained “unclear.”
“We advise caution over this weekend,” the message on the embassy Web site said, and called on Japanese citizens not to go out for anything that could be postponed.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing also issued a warning on its Web site, telling U.S. citizens to be alert for protests. The embassy said it had received “unconfirmed reports” about calls to stage demonstrations in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guangzhou and Tianjin over the weekend as well as in early May.
“The demonstrations are purportedly against Japanese interests, but could involve foreigners in general,” according to the statement.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.