Of course, it’s not being reported in China.
Violent clashes between members of the Muslim Hui ethnic group and the majority Han group left nearly 150 people dead and forced authorities to declare martial law in a section of Henan Province in central China, journalists and witnesses in the region said today.
The fighting flared late last week and continued into the weekend after a Hui taxi driver fatally struck a 6-year-old Han girl, prompting recriminations between different ethnic groups in neighboring villages, these people said.
One person who was briefed on the incident by the police said that 148 people had been killed, including 18 police officers sent to quell the violence.
Chinese media have reported nothing about unrest in Henan. But a news blackout would not be unusual, as propaganda authorities routinely suppress information about ethnic tensions.
When you read about the underlying causes, mostly economic, you can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a sign of many more such clashes to come. As the quality of life for the Han Chinese improves, little of the new prosperity reachces the Moslems.
Update: Boy, I am prescient! More on the trend toward more frequent and more violent protests here. (Requires registration, sorry.)
Update 2: It seems the death toll was far, far less than 150. More like 7. Where did the Times get that number??
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.