CHINA: A stern warning from Beijing's police against staging "illegal" anti-Japanese protests was not quite the SMS text message I was expecting on my mobile phone on May Day.
But Chinese security chiefs are turning to high-tech methods to try to keep a lid on any unrest ahead of what is a week-long public holiday here.
"The Beijing Public Security Bureau reminds you - do not believe rumours, do not spread rumours. Express your ardent love for the country reasonably. Do not take part in illegal demonstrations," ran the text message, which was sent to many mobile phones in the city.
"Be helpful and do not add to chaos. Be patriotic and do not break the law," it said.
The use of mobile phone text messages to stop people marching on the streets shows that the police have learned from the organisers of the wave of demonstrations last month.
The protesters have made innovative use of SMS messages and the internet to organise the recent round of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in China, sparked by the belief here that Japan has not done enough to apologise for atrocities carried out during its occupation of China from 1931 to 1945.
The mass SMS mailing by the police came in response to strong rumours of new protests in Beijing and other cities yesterday and on Wednesday - anniversary of the May 4th, 1919, movement, which was the first mass protest in modern Chinese history.
Anti-Japanese sentiment was largely incited by coverage of a controversial school history textbook, which the Chinese say glosses over Japan's wartime actions.
There has also been outrage at Tokyo's attempt for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and plans to exploit gas resources in disputed seas.
Popular dissent is not tolerated in China, but there have been rumours that the protests took place with the tacit approval of the Beijing authorities.
Any displays of public disobedience are swiftly dealt with, especially since the pro-democracy protests in the spring of 1989, which went on for weeks before they ended in a bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square.