China Digital Space

Jasmine

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茉莉花 (mòlìhuā): jasmine

Following Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution,” Chinese dissidents used the Internet to call for a similar movement at home. In response to the calls for a movement, the Chinese government deployed its massive censorship apparatus to block the word “jasmine,” detained many online activists, and deployed public security officials in cities throughout the country. The government also called many dissidents in to “ drink tea” with the Domestic Security Department. Being summoned to one of these interrogation sessions was to have "drunk jasmine tea."

When netizens continued to call for mobilization, more online activists were arrested, and the foreign media was warned against covering the nascent movement. In Beijing, a temporary ban on the sale of jasmine flowers was enacted.

Despite the government crackdown, citizens took passive actions by “strolling” in designated gathering places.

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