Conflict & Justice

No protests in China's protest park

One of the designated protest sites is this park. But when I approach a policeman at the gate, he looks panicked when I ask him about protests here. A park official tells me then that no one has come to protest here. And no one has come to the other two designated parks because apparently no one has been granted permission. Part of the reason is you're supposed to apply five days in advance and say exactly how many people will be protesting, what slogans they'll shout, and what media will be covering the protest�and only Beijing residents need apply. This China researcher for Human Rights Watch says this is a cynical sham so the Chinese government can say they have allowed for the possibility of protests, but still making sure that none occur. He says that includes detaining some who have applied for protesting. He says it's ironic that those citizens who have taken the government at its word and applied to protest legally are the ones who are now being detained. Today this supposed protest park looks like it does any day. In the end, the biggest gathering I found was of about 40 retirees relaxing.

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