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China throws out 'flashmob' Swedish blogger

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16:38 CEST+02:00
A Sweden-based student in China has been sent home after calling for a flashmob in Shanghai in support of freedom of expression. reports Swedish Radio news programme Ekot.

The Swedish Radio news programme Ekot reports that the 24-year-old man chose to make his protest on July 1st, the day that the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 90 year anniversary.

He wrote on his Swedish language blog "I have long had in mind to try to organize something small, a small marker, which also could attract some of the paranoid authorities' attention."

In the blog, the 24-year-old called on party chairman Hu Jintao to join a flash mob to mark the occasion, although it is unknown whether the public event actually took place, because its organiser was already being held for questioning when it was due to happen.

In his blog he called on people to write the word “Freedom” in Chinese characters anywhere on their body, then congregate at a specific location in downtown Shanghai at an allotted time and stand there for five minutes.

After being strongly advised to call off his protest by, among others, the Swedish consulate, the man in the end cancelled the flashmob plan via his blog. He added that anyone actually planning to go through with the plan for the event would be doing so at their own risk.

However the cancellation and his carefully worded apology, in which he said, "What I planned was illegal, to organize something like this should be applied for at least 15 days in advance," were not enough to win over the Chinese authorities. His residency permit was rescinded and the 24-year-old was duly sent back home.

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