Reporters were among those assaulted in an aggressive crack down launched by Chinese security personnel in Beijing during the weekend to thwart a call for public rallies.

At least five men in plain clothes, who appeared to be security personnel, punched and kicked the reporter at Beijing's Wangfujing shopping street at 2:45 p.m. local time Sunday. They also took the video camera he was carrying and detained him in a roadside store, Bloomberg reported.

The Chinese authorities have put up a show of force in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai; besides censoring internet, micro-blogging sites to try to prevent outbreak of Egypt-style protests. Media reports also suggest that telecom companies have blocked 3G and GPRS services in the areas where protests were planned, to ensure that protesters do not upload pictures in real time.

In Beijing, the Wangfujing pedestrianised shopping street was occupied by squads of policemen with dogs, plain-clothes officers, and members of the People's Armed Police, a division of the army, The Telegraph reported.

Reporters in Beijing have now been warned not to conduct interviews in the capital without prior permission. Broadcasts by CNN and the BBC have been blocked, and reporters from the BBC were bundled into a van by police and driven away from Wangfujing, the report added.