CHINA> Regional
77 applications, no protests at Beijing Games
Updated: 2008-08-19 06:54

Since Aug 1, Beijing authorities have received 77 applications from people wishing to stage demonstrations, a spokesperson for the municipal public security bureau said Monday.

The applications involved 149 people, including three from overseas.

Most of the applications concerned labor, medical and welfare issues, the spokesperson said.

Up to yesterday, 74 applications had been withdrawn after amicable settlements between the parties and authorities.

"Two other applications have been suspended due to incomplete procedures.

"In one case, the applicant wanted to involve children in the demonstration. This is against the law," the spokesperson said.

Children do not have independence of will, and therefore, cannot be held accountable for their behavior, he said.

The other case concerned incomplete particulars.

"The applicants have been told to apply again according to the proper procedures set down. It does not mean their applications have been rejected," the spokesperson said.

Chinese law requires demonstrators to submit their requests at least five days in advance, detail the subject of protest, and provide basic information of the participants. One application was rejected by because it was in violation of China's law on demonstrations and protests, the spokesperson said. He did not give further details.

The public security bureau also received 22 inquiries on application procedures - 13 from local residents and nine from overseas.

China announced last month it would set up zones in three Beijing parks where demonstrators could legally stage protests during the Olympic Games. They are Zizhuyuan Park in the city's northwest, Ritan Park in the east and World Park in the southwest.

"The move to set aside protest areas is in line with Beijing's promises to the International Olympic Committee to adhere to the Olympic traditions, such as free expression outside the sporting venues.

"It offers a new channel for the protestors to better express their opinions by attracting the attention of tourists, reporters and officials during the Games," Mo Yuchuan, director of the Research Center for Constitutional and Administrative Law of Renmin University of China, said.