POSTED: 4:48 a.m. HST, Feb 22, 2011
BEIJING — A Chinese government spokesman sidestepped questions Tuesday about a recent online call for Middle East-style democracy protests in China but said that most Chinese have an unshakeable desire for political stability.
When asked by a reporter about the Internet appeal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu first said the topic was not appropriate for him, since it was unrelated to foreign affairs. He then added that the vast majority of Chinese supported the country's development path of the past 30 years, which has combined free market reforms with little political change.
"Safeguarding social and political stability, promoting social harmony, and ensuring the ability to live and work in peace and contentment is also the common aspiration of the Chinese people and is something that no person or force can shake," Ma said.
A mysterious Internet appeal of unknown origin had called for simultaneous protests in 13 Chinese cities over the weekend. Police thwarted any protests by detaining known activists and intensifying controls over Internet and mobile communications. Online searches were blocked for the phrase "Jasmine Revolution" — the name of both the China protest call and the mass protests in Tunisia that ousted that country's longtime president and sparked the ongoing wave of Middle Eastern democracy protests
Asked about the web filtering, Ma reiterated that the government supports the development of the Internet but also regulates it like many countries around the world.