Uneasy with the idea of university students meeting on weekends to discuss democracy and revolution, China requested that an annual series of debates on the Xinhai Revolution, held since 2002, be suspended
The Chinese government has called on organizers of an annual series of inter-university debates on the meaning of the 1911 revolution to cancel the event amid fears of unrest in the country, a Hong Kong newspaper reported yesterday.
The ban, ordered by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League on Friday, was the first since the event was launched in 2002, the South China Morning Post reported. The debates were scheduled to commence on Saturday.
The move comes amid a nationwide crackdown on dissidents calling for a “Jasmine Revolution” and political liberalization in China.
Sixteen universities, including top institutions of learning like Peking University, Renmin University of China and Tianjin University, were to take part in the debates, the SCMP said. Beijing’s keen sensitivity to the political threat of mass mobilization is believed to have been the principal reason behind the decision to cancel the event.
Wen Yunchao (溫雲超), a Guangzhou-based blogger better known as Beifeng (北風, or “North Wind”), told the paper that the timing of the event, the nature of its participants and the topics for debate were very sensitive in the eyes of the authorities.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here (the part on the Christian worshipers who were detained is by AFP; the rest is by me).