© The Associated PressA policeman urges people to leave as they gather in front of a McDonald's restaurant which was the planned protest site in Beijing
Three Chinese online users have been charged with subversion for re-posting calls for a Jasmine revolution on the internet, a Hong Kong-based civil rights groups has reported.

The arrests are further evidence of Beijing's determination to stamp out any attempt to foment Middle East-style protests in China after a foreign-based website,, issued a call for nationwide demonstrations against one-party rule.

The charges have been made under China's draconian "subversion of state power" laws, a catch-all that enables China's ruling Communist Party to jail anyone it deems to be challenging its right to rule.

Liu Xiaobo, the dissident who won this year's Nobel peace prize is currently serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted on subversion charges.

Liang Haiyi, an unemployed 35-year-old woman in the northeast city of Harbin, was taken away Saturday after putting information about the protests on a Chinese chat rooms, according to a lawyer, said the statement by Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy She was questioned and taken away in handcuffs, and her ex-husband has received an official notice saying she has been charged with subversion, added the lawyer, who said he had spoken to the woman's ex-husband.

"I don't think she's broken any law, she only reposted someone else's writings on the Chinese internet and it wasn't her own writing," said Liang Xiaojun said. "Anyone overseas can see these materials." Also detained for spreading word of the planned protest online were Hua Chunhui, from Wuxi city in eastern China, and Chen Wei from Suining city in the southwest, the group said in its statement.

The anonymous calls for protests in China failed to generate significant interest last weekend when any protesters were outnumbered by police, journalists and followers of the microblog site, which is blocked in China.

Apparently undeterred, the organisers reiterated their calls this week, posting locations in 18 Chinese cities the length and breadth of China calling on people to come out against China's autocratic rulers.

"We invite every participant to stroll, watch or even just pretend to pass by. As long as you are present, the authoritarian government will be shaking with fear," said the open letter posted on the US-based Chinese-language website, which is blocked in China.

The Chinese authorities have oscillated between pouring scorn on the failed calls to protest - a senior Party official described the idea of a Chinese Jasmine revolution as "preposterous and unrealistic" - and heavy handed use of China's massive internal security apparatus.

Online censorship has been stepped up and as many as 100 activists are reported to have been detained or put under house arrest over the last week as the authorities move to snuff out any prospect of anti-government movement taking hold.

Human Rights in China, an advocacy group based in New York, listed 29 lawyers and dissidents who had been detained, confined, searched or questioned by police or government agents since the Jasmine protest calls first appeared.

In the past week senior Party leaders, including the Chinese President Hu Jintao, have urged cadres to do more to address the grievances of ordinary Chinese while strengthening controls on society in order to maintain "harmony and stability".

Li Heping, a lawyer in Beijing who has defended dissidents, said that he and a colleague had been stopped from flying to Japan to attend a meeting - the fifth time since 2008 that he was blocked by border officers from going abroad.

"The atmosphere is relatively tense now, because of the events in north Africa," Mr Li told the Reuters news agency, "They're afraid of all these calls for human rights and freedom spreading in China."