““A single spark can start a prairie fire,” Chairman Mao famously declared, and a collective of young mainland- and overseas-based Chinese activists are taking his words to heart, using high-tech crowd-rallying techniques to organize spontaneous demonstrations in dozens of cities across China.

The growing protest movement, inspired by the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, was launched with an announcement on the Chinese-language news site boxun.com, based in Durham, North Carolina, and for which we serve as translators.

The lesson from past crackdowns was to apply even more decentralized tactics. Today’s organizers — who seek to launch a “molihua” (jasmine) revolution — have used social networks like Sina Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter), Facebook and Google groups to spark public meetings in large cities in every province over the past two weeks.”

From The New York Times