China cracks down on foreign reporters

March 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM

BEIJING, March 3 (UPI) -- Some foreign reporters in China are trying to stir up protests, an official said Thursday, warning them they could be arrested if they violate regulations.

Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said reporters still have the freedom to travel and conduct interviews without official permission, The New York Times reported. But she advised them to check before heading to places where crowds gather.

"Law-abiding people will be protected by the law," she said. "But people who are trying to create trouble in China, I can tell them that they have made the wrong plans. Some people are eager to join the fray. For people with that kind of motive, no law can protect them."

The Times said there have been many signs the mass protests in the Middle East and North Africa have made the Chinese government nervous. A St. Patrick's Day parade expected to draw about 2,000 people in Shanghai was canceled.

So far, the only signs of unrest in China have been anonymous announcements of protests on the Internet. On Sunday, three foreign journalists were injured in a fracas with police after they went to one of those locations.

Conor O'Riordan, the Irish Republic's consul general, said organizers were told to find a "more modest" route for the parade in an area off limits to journalists. Time was too short to make the switch, he said.

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