In a move to prevent "Middle-East style" protest movements, Beijing has placed tighter controls over foreign journalists, NPR reported.
Journalists must obtain government permission before gathering any news or reports in the city, said Li Honghai, vice director of the city's Foreign Affairs Office in Beijing.
The restrictions are in response to calls for protest spreading via Internet, text messages, and social networking sites. Chinese officials are apparently unnerved by the uprisings in the Middle East, and have reportedly warned journalists they could face the loss of their visas, credentials and could face expulsion, the NY Times said.
Authorities in many Chinese cities have suddenly canceled public events, such as the St. Patrick's Day parade in Shanghai. "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," said an anonymous Western diplomat.