On 22/12/2013 by Site Default

For the past three years, I lived in the middle of Beijing’s fortune-telling district. Business is booming for the soothsayers beside the Lama Temple, as Chinese customers, facing a time of extraordinary uncertainty, seek otherworldly counsel. (In the spring, one of the purveyors, Mr. Guo, analyzed my birth date, time, and other mystical factors, and then looked up approvingly. “Good news,” he announced. “In the near future, you will begin to make considerable income on the side!”)

With a nod to Mr. Guo—and to Jeffrey Toobin’s annual exercise in legal prognostication—here are ten predictions for the stories that will define the coming year in China:

1. Unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang

The growing unrest on China’s western frontier is the biggest story that nobody really knows. The effort to disrupt and deny the authority of Beijing over a vast region of China—an area far larger than Europe—has enormous potential to alter the country’s political and economic future, but it is poorly understood inside and outside of China. Authorities bar foreign correspondents from reaching large parts of the areas that are home to Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs. The news flashes leave no doubt of deepening unrest—sixteen people, including two policemen, were killed in Xinjiang on Sunday, in a clash that we are unlikely to learn much more about. The sheer absence of information can be cause for more unrest.False rumors of a gang rape contributed to deadly unrest in Xinjiang in 2009, and the lack of knowledge is likely to produce problems again. “Atrocity stories repeat themselves, but then, so do atrocities. As with so much else in Xinjiang, it remains indistinct,” wrote James Palmer, in one of the year’s best stories from China.


The King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Visits China

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