US envoy's name blocked in latest run-in with China

China has tightened control over the Internet in the wake of the unrest sweeping through West Asia, underscoring the party’s anxiety over the easy spread of information that might challenge its one-party rule.

‘Jasmine Revolution’

The online censorship coincides with a rash of detentions after an overseas Chinese-language website, Boxun, spread a call for “Jasmine Revolution” gatherings to press the Communist Party to make way for democratic change.

Ambassador Jon Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker tipped as a Republican US  presidential candidate, was spotted in a crowd at a pro-democracy gathering outside a McDonald’s on Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping street on Sunday.

US officials later said he accidentally came across the gathering while out shopping.
A video posted on YouTube showed him talking to an unidentified person on the street, a block away from Tiananmen Square, the centre of pro-democracy demonstrations which were crushed by the military in June 1989.

Besides Huntsman’s Chinese name, “Hong Bopei”, searches for the Chinese translations of “Egypt,” “jasmine,” “jasmine revolution” and “Hillary Clinton” prompted a message saying the results could not be found on the microblogs of Chinese Internet portal Sina.com.

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