The Wall Street Journal wonders why China state media has been fairly quiet on Ferguson coverage:
A more likely explanation, however, is that officials feel events in Ferguson are a little too similar to what’s happening in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region, where ethnic tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group and Han Chinese authorities have increasingly boiled over into violence.
“The concern is that, if they report it too much, it might set off a response domestically,” Mr. Qiao says. “The situation is similar to Xinjiang. They don’t want to attract any fire.”
It's interesting that a Chinese scholar sees the situation in Ferguson as that of an occupying power dealing with a restive minority. But I'm not sure that fits, if only because it's a bit superfluous: the Ferguson uprising looks like an absolutely classic mass incident of the kind blogged about here over the years. Fatality caused by abuse of power? Check. Persistent and escalating demonstrations? Check. Massive show of force by authorities? Check. Ferguson is a classic mass incident at the small town level, although the demonstratiors there have shown considerably more restraint. If this was a town of comparable size in China there'd be open combat illuminated by piles of burning police cars. The whole thing would have probably been over by now, too, with demands partially met, compensation incompletely offered, a fatality or two and official vengeance cooling in the fridge before service. I'm going out on a limb here but it just may be that the parallels between Ferguson and the ongoing conversation of violence between the Chinese authorities and the Chinese public has struck Beijing's information managers in a fairly profound way, or at least that it's something they want to chew over beyond the point of churning out boilerplate yah boo propaganda. Coverage of this kind of incident is usually attendant on a decision by the relevant organs. Maybe they're still thinking about it.
And since government everywhere is tending towards the managerial and technocratic – tending towards stability management, in other words - there might even be a kind of genuine fellow feeling in Beijing towards the Ferguson Police Department, Governor Nixon and all those involved in suppressing the disturbances. Governing is difficult. The people are unruly. If only our American friends could acknowledge this. Let's not make their task any harder.