Beijing, China (CNN) - I had thought China's situation was significantly different from the Middle East because the government has been successful in bringing better living standards to the people here. You would think that would make Beijing feel less vulnerable. But perhaps all authoritarian regimes react the same.
My crew and I went out Sunday afternoon to see if there was going to be a public response to anonymous calls on the Internet to stage protests and begin a Tunisia-style "Jasmine Revolution" in China. When we arrived at the shopping district Wangfujing, the designated protest location, hundreds of uniformed and plain clothes police patrolled the area. We waited to see if any protesters would show up. But after half an hour, there was no obvious demonstration.
We started shooting a short report and within minutes the police descended upon us. My cameraman was led away. My producer, Jo Kent, started filming me with a small camera when a plain clothes policeman batted it out of her hand. He and several other officers started shoving us around. Three bulky men grabbed my petite female producer. Three more nabbed me, holding my arms tight. We offered to walk on our own but the officers pushed, at times lifting us off the ground, before dragging us to a bank branch where police were already detaining other journalists.
Hong Kong, China (CNN) - The Mideast turmoil has oil prices hovering near $100 a barrel again. For Asian economies, an extended period of high oil prices could have a number of knock-on effects, including hurting oil-dependent industries like autos and construction, and depressing exports to the U.S. and Europe.
The real danger though may lie in single word: inflation.
Economies from China to Vietnam to India are already struggling to contain rising consumer prices, especially for staple foods like corn and onions. These costs hit many of society's poorest families, as they struggle to meet basic food and energy costs. They are also taxing government balance sheets, with food and energy subsidies still common place in this part of the world.
In a research note HSBC described the combination of high food prices, gaining core prices, labor tightness and the oil shock "a lethal brew."
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