City authorities today banned unauthorized demonstrations in the capital three days after students marched to support pro-democracy demonstrations by tens of thousands of their counterparts in Shanghai.
The Peking Municipal People's Congress, in an announcement on the nationwide evening television news broadcast, said all demonstrations without a police permit would be banned in the capital.
Protests specifically were forbidden at the Great Hall of the People in central Tiananmen Square, the government compound and at the airport.
Under the new rules, those who want to demonstrate must send an application to police five days in advance and submit their names, the purpose of the demonstration, the number of people involved, the time and the route. Police must respond in writing within three days.
The news broadcast said those who violated regulations would be punished, but did not give further details.
Restrictions in Shanghai
Shanghai imposed similar restrictions Monday following weekend marches involving tens of thousands of protesters.
The Peking ban came just three days after 1,000 students from prestigious Peking University marched briefly through the university section in support of protesters in Shanghai.
The ban coincides with a mounting government publicity campaign warning of the threat posed to social and economic order by the student protests. The students acknowledge they know little about Western-style democracy and say they would be satisfied with changes in China's one-party system.
The government's New China News Agency, meanwhile, confirmed the first arrests stemming from last weekend's huge protests in Shanghai. The agency said foundry worker Wang Guishan and bus repairman Xue Wenzeng were arrested Wednesday "for seriously disturbing public order and deliberately damaging public and private property" during a demonstration Sunday night outside the Shanghai City Hall.
There were several unconfirmed reports of arrests during the five days of protests in Shanghai, but authorities denied students were detained.
Rallies in Nanjing
Also today, witnesses reported there have been four straight days of pro-democracy rallies in the eastern provincial capital of Nanjing, ending with a small demonstration Thursday night.
Foreign teachers and students at Nanjing University said thousands of students took part in the peaceful protests, which began Monday and reached a climax Wednesday with about 5,000 chanting students participating. Thousands of workers were reported to have turned out to watch Wednesday's protest.
China Youth News warned in a front-page commentary today that anarchic fervor such as was displayed during the 1966-76 Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a time of militant leftism, would only lead to chaos and that real democracy can be reached only step by step.