Jittery China cracks down hard on "jasmine revolution" protests

Police and security officials displayed a massive show of force here and in other Chinese cities Sunday, trying to snuff out any hint of protests modeled on the uprisings in the Middle East. In Shanghai, several hundred people trying to gather were dispersed with a water truck.

Premier Wen Jiabao, meanwhile, used a morning Internet chat to promise to purge senior officials who are corrupt and to rein in inflation and rising home prices, directly addressing some of the most common grievances of ordinary Chinese…

“I came here today to see how people protest against the government, which is corrupt and rules in an authoritarian way,” said a 71-year-old man, who asked that only his family name, Cao, be used. “Democracy is the trend in the world. No country in the world can be an exception to the process.”

Cao said the Communist Party in China was so strong that he expected reform would have to come from within the system. “For those fighting against the government, it is like eggs hitting the stone,” Cao said. “With 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 eggs hitting the stone, the eggs will eventually succeed.”