Anonymous international bloggers have been writing in Chinese about a "Jasmine revolution" in China, calling on Chinese people to show their discontent for local corruption by going to places that are normally crowded and walking around, not doing anything special. The Chinese authorities freaked out and blocked these sites, and most people in China have never heard of them — but because people keep turning up and walking around in the normally crowded places, the politburo is convinced that the Jasmine Revolution is in full swing.
The organizers, whoever and wherever they are, have repeatedly called on people to gather in a range of popular and public areas in the centre of major cities across China – shopping malls and university campuses – and go for a stroll every Sunday afternoon to call for minor political change. These public areas are, at that time of day, normally filled with young people and out-of-town domestic tourists, all now potential 'protesters'. Now, because of the number of competing and overlapping security agencies, there is a lot of pressure on the local commanders to make some arrests and to show some success, but there are no genuine protesters, just some bemused local tourists and a lot of foreign journalists. So some young tourists get beaten up and taken away, and some journalists get smacked around. This then acquires a predictable, and well understood, dynamic of its own. At the same time, the organisers have used a wide range of popular and politically 'safe' words to use as code words – the characters for 'Two Conferences' being one, which is also the political conference that occurred in Beijing at the same time. Last weekend it was the 'Three Represents', which was Jiang Zemin's political thought legacy, and so on. These keywords get picked up by the censors, and all web and SMS traffic using them gets shut down or blocked – Jasmine itself is of course popular in Chinese culture and widely used in branding, but sites using 'Jasmine' in their copy, however innocuous, are blocked – with real-world social, political and economic consequences.
(via Warren Ellis)