Protests have been quelled in China and sub-Saharan Africa in the first signs that the "Jasmine Revolution" of Tunisia is spreading beyond the North Africa and the Arab heartlands. China moved in to head off the protests before they occur, while other Africans are trying to start their own democratic or populist revolutions.
"From Dakar to Tunis, Algiers to Cairo, fire continues its macabre waltz. It's fashionable, people are manifesting their distress through sacrifice," said Senegalese newspaper, Walfadjri, after a man lit himself on fire outside of the nation's presidential palace. Oumar Bocoum's action in Senegal was done in protest over his army pension, but was meant to spark the same sort of national rage that occurred after a Tunisian protester's self-immolation over poverty and government failures.
"When we see continued uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and in other places, we find dictators who stayed in power for long with the so called dominant party state," said Dr. Negasso Gidada, a leader in Ethiopia's main opposition party, the UDJ. "All these hardships, socioeconomic and political conditions are also a reality here and they exist in Ethiopia even in worst degree."
The calls resembled those in Nigeria, Djibouti, and Kenya, where populations are analyzing the Arab example as a solution for widespread poverty and government corruption. These have met with varying degrees of success, as organization efforts have been hindered by tribalism and the lack of internet penetration, as well as the lack of attention garnered by Arab states.
The revolution has also moved east. Chinese security officials questioned and detained scores of activists over the weekend, and warned against protests in response to an online call for a "Jasmine Revolution in China." The message said: "You and I are Chinese people who will still have a dream for the future ... we must act responsibly for the future of our descendants."
"[The message] linked it to the jasmine revolution and I guess that made the government nervous," Wang Songlian of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network said about the call for protests. "It really shows us how much the government has identified with regimes in the Middle East where people are so aggrieved about social injustice." The revolution has so far fizzled, as few protesters turned out for poorly organized demonstrations.