Mindful of criticism over the lack of free speech during the Beijing Olympics, China has authorised the right of protest in specially designated "protest zones" dotted around Beijing.
They are hidden away in hard-to reach suburbs, seven miles from the main Olympic stadium. There are also rules about who can demonstrate, and what they can demonstrate about.
In order to protest, the "protestee" must apply for a permit at the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) five days before the planned protest. They must fill out an application that specifies the purpose and time of the protest, what will happen during it, the slogans that will be written on banners and posters, the estimated number of protesters and whether megaphones or any form of amplified sound equipment will be used. Foreigners have to go through the same procedure, and make sure their application is in Mandarin.
The protest must also comply with Chinese law on public demonstrations.
Protests that threaten the territorial unity of China are illegal, so protests demanding freedom for Tibet are of course banned.
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