China To Allow Designated Olympic Protests

There is something faintly comical about centrally-planned protests, not that China treats dissent with anything but deadly earnest.

Nonetheless, demonstrations will be permitted in three parks in Beijing during the Olympic games, says Liu Shaowu, director of the organizing committee’s security department.

The Guardian calls the designated spots in Shijie, Zizhuyuan and Ritan parks “protest pens”. Would-be demonstrators will be required to apply for permission from the city’s government and police, the BBC reports, although the mechanism for applying seems hazy.

Previous Olympic cities have had designated protest areas but how willingly China, where anti-government protests legal but rare, has followed suit is a moot point given the pre-Games crackdown on dissent. What Beijing can embrace is the International Olympic Committee’s ban on demonstrations or “political, religious or racial propaganda” at Olympic venues.

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Filed under Beijing Olympics, Politics & Society

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