China keeps heavy security on fourth `Jasmine` day

Uniformed police with dogs patrolled Beijing`s Wangfujing and Xidan streets.

Updated: Mar 13, 2011, 16:37 PM IST

Beijing: Hundreds of police maintained heavy security at two busy commercial sites in China`s capital on Sunday for the fourth week of planned "Jasmine" rallies against the government.

Uniformed police with dogs patrolled Beijing`s Wangfujing and Xidan shopping streets assisted by paramilitary and plainclothes officers, special forces units, security guards and volunteers.

The police checked the identities of people entering the two streets and there was no sign of open protest at either site.

The anonymous online organisers had advised people attending the rallies to "stroll" near the protest sites but not to shout slogans, carry banners or identify themselves as protesters in other ways.

The organisers have listed dozens more planned protest sites across China since the first events on February 20.

But there are no reports of large rallies in any cities except for Shanghai, where about 100 people appeared to congregate outside the Peace Cinema last Sunday following a much larger gathering on February 27.

Police have detained or placed under house arrest dozens of well-known dissidents and activists since calls for protests began last month.

They have charged at least 20 people with subversion or other crimes linked to supporting or spreading information on the rallies, according to Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Defenders and other groups.

Many foreign journalists were also prevented from reporting or filming at the protest sites in Beijing and Shanghai.

Another online activist Guo Weidong, a well-known Twitter user from the eastern province of Zhejiang, was detained last week.

Guo`s wife, Zhang Dan, told US-based Radio Free Asia that police informed her Friday that Guo was charged with "incitement to subvert state power".

Zhang said police had seized Guo`s computer and other material, but the reason for the charges remained unclear as he had not voiced public support for the "Jasmine" rallies.