Shanghai St Patrick's Day parade ban

Image caption Nanjing Donglu is the most famous shopping street in Shanghai

A St Patrick's Day parade in Shanghai has reportedly been cancelled by the Chinese government because of fears of protests.

The Irish Times reported that the Chinese government had made the decision as part of a wider clampdown on public gatherings.

The parade for Irish expatriates and their Chinese friends attracts thousands of visitors and is part of a four-day event.

"We're bitterly disappointed as we spent two months working on it, but that is life," one member of the organising committee told the newspaper.

The Communist ruling party is reportedly worried that the wave of uprisings in the Middle East could spread to China.

At its annual National People's Congress in Beijing on Sunday, the party said calls for protests in China were doomed because "the Chinese treasured peace and stability."

The annual parade was due to move along Nanjing Donglu, Shanghai's most famous street.

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