What could possibly be the most important unreported news from the weekend comes out of China, where quietly Internet postings have circulated, calling for disgruntled Chinese to gather on Sunday in public places in 13 major cities to mark the "Jasmine Revolution" spreading through the Middle East. The postings, many of which appeared to have originated on overseas
websites run by exiled Chinese political activists, called for protests
in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and 10 other major Chinese cities. And while there has been some speculation this latest "social network" protest is nothing more than performance art, the Chinese authorities sure are taking it seriously: "The calls have apparently led the Chinese government to censor
postings containing the word "jasmine" in an attempt to quell any
potential unrest. "We welcome... laid off workers and victims of
forced evictions to participate in demonstrations, shout slogans and
seek freedom, democracy and political reform to end 'one party rule',"
one posting said." Just like surging prices (which however are either forcefully adjusted to not be reflected or eliminated entirely from the data stream) caused virtually all prior Chinese social revolts, will they succeed again? And more importantly, will China demonstrate to the US that the only way to prevent a 'twitter revolution' is to wrest control of the internet entirely? If so, how many days before Big Brother is actively scouring through every single 100Base TX for daily keywords of choice with HBGary patiently waiting in the corridors to unleash a destructive DDOS at a moment's notice?
From the AFP:
Protesters were urged to shout slogans including "we want food to eat," "we want work," we want housing," "we want justice," "long live freedom," and "long live democracy."
Chinese authorities have sought to restrict media reports on the recent political turmoil that began in Tunisia as the "Jasmine Revolution" and spread to Egypt and throughout the Middle East.
Unemployment and rising prices have been key factors linked to the unrest that has also spread to Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.
Searches Sunday for "jasmine" on China's Twitter-like micro-blog Weibo ended without results, while messages on the popular Baidu search engine said that due to laws and regulations such results were unavailable.
Some Chinese Internet search pages listed "jasmine" postings but links to them were blocked.
The Chinese government has expended tremendous resources to police the Internet and block anti-government postings and other politically sensitive material with a system known as the "Great Firewall of China."
In a speech given Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao acknowledged growing social unrest and urged the ruling Communist Party to better safeguard stability while also ordering strengthened controls over "virtual society" or the Internet.
The stunning call for insurrection has caught so many off guard, some believe this is just some high powered attempt at artistic expression:
Activists seemed not to know what to make of the call to protest, even as they passed it on. They said they were unaware of any known group being involved in the request for citizens to gather in 13 cities and shout, "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness."
Some even wondered whether the call was "performance art" instead of a serious move in the footsteps of recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.
And just as China's ministry of truth is learning from the BLS, so the US department of full disclosure is rapidly doing all it can to take down whole section of the internet when and if it deems that acts of sedition have spread pervasively within US territories. Indeed, China is well ahead of the US here, and the seriousness and rapidity of the response indicates this is most certainly not a drill:
The call to protest was first posted on the U.S.-based Chinese-language website Boxun.com. "Boxun has no way to verify the background of this and did not participate," it said.
The Boxun site was unavailable Saturday, and reported being attacked.
"This is the most serious denial of service attack we have received," it said in a statement. "We believe the attack is related to the Jasmine Revolution proposed on Feb. 20 in China."
In the meantime, despite numerous RRR and interest rate hikes, Chinese prices continue to surge:
The ruling Communist Party is dogged by the threat of social unrest over rising food and housing prices and other issues.
In the latest price increase, the National Development and Reform Commission announced Saturday that gasoline and diesel prices would be raised by 350 yuan ($53) per ton.
Meanwhile, Shanghai became the latest city to place new limits on housing purchases to tamp down soaring home prices. Residents who already own two or more homes in Shanghai would be prohibited from buying more, while outsiders would be limited to one, Xinhua reported.
As reported previously, a roasted Chicken in Shanghai goes for $30.
Keep an eye out on Sino news tomorrow. If Chinese protests commence in earnest, then not even Bernie Bernanke will be able to find many new LPs willing to invest in the ponzi at this late hour...