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    Chinese forces crackdown on foreign journalists

    Berlin: The Chinese security forces on Sunday cracked down on foreign journalists, driven by mounting nervousness that the "jasmine revolution" sweeping the Arab world might spread to their country, German media reported on Sunday.

    German weekly 'Stern' reported that its China correspondent Janis Vougioukas was among a dozen foreign journalists detained by police as they visited the "Peace Cinema" square in Shanghai to watch a protest demonstration.

    "They were taken to a nearby police station, questioned in an underground bunker for three hours and set free after signing an admission that they intentionally violated the Chinese rules for foreign correspondents," the
    weekly said.

    Last Sunday, Chinese authorities arrested Beijing correspondent of German TV network ZDF Johannes Hano and his colleague from the ARD channel Christine Adelhardt as well as their crew and questioned them for several hours after they
    tried to report about a protest demonstration in a shopping mall in Beijing.

    They were told by the police that they need special permission to film in certain areas and asked to sign an undertaking that they will comply with the Chinese regulations.

    The Chinese leadership is extremely nervous that the popular uprising which swept Tunisian President Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of power and currently threatening to oust the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi could spread to their country and therefore the authorities are determined to crush any protests with all means, Vougioukas told the on-line edition of 'Stern'.

    Vougioukas said he and his colleagues from several other foreign media organisations went to watch a protest demonstration at the 'Peace Cinema' square, where several hundred people had gathered last Sunday.

    This time, however, there were only around a hundred demonstrators, but the entire area was cordoned off by several thousand police personnel.

    "The demonstration was minute, but the police force was huge. I have never witnessed such a massive display of police force," the correspondent said.

    Chinese police officials had earlier warned the foreign correspondents in Shanghai not to visit the area around the cinema.