Shanghai's St. Patrick's Day parade has been canceled amidst fears of "Jasmine Revolution" protests, the BBC is reporting.
The decision to nix the popular parade for Irish expatriates and their Chinese friends is part of a wider government clampdown on public gatherings and celebrations by the Communist ruling party, which fears the spread of anti-government sentiment. As the Irish Times is reporting, the March 12 parade was due to move along Nanjing Donglu, Shanghai's most famous street, which runs past People's Square -- a site reportedly specified in online calls for citizens to take "an afternoon stroll" in a sign of passive resistance.
"The parade is off," one member of the organizing committee who requested anonymity told the newspaper. "We were told by the Public Security Bureau we could not have a public gathering. We're bitterly disappointed as we spent two months working on it, but that's life."
Other officials agreed. "We've noticed that a somewhat larger number of our cultural and educational programs around China are being postponed or canceled, but we haven't been notified by Chinese authorities of any specific reason," one diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the New York Times.
2010 was the first year Shanghai hosted a St. Patrick's Day celebration, which drew over 1,500 city residents, CNN is reporting. Meanwhile, Beijing's annual St Patrick's Day parade, set for March 20, will go ahead as planned.