The High Cost of Control


Pregame warm-up: In Lhasa, Tibetan protesters rain rocks on a Chinese military convoy

What were the communist party cadres in Beijing feeling as they watched Lhasa burning in mid-March? Anger certainly. And worry about how the staging of the Olympic Games in August could be affected. But they were also surprised, shocked at how Tibetan resentment over Chinese rule had suddenly exploded into widespread rioting — not just in Lhasa but throughout regions with major ethnic Tibetan populations — spoiling what was supposed to be a positive, peaceful run-up to the Games.

And therein lies something of a mystery. How could Chinese authorities have missed the potential...

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