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Security Head Tours Restive Chinese Region

United Press International (UPI)
October 6, 2005

China's top security official, Zhou Yongkang, finished a three-day visit to Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Wednesday amid signs of growing ethnic tension.

There have been scattered reports of friction between the dominant Han majority who account for more than 80 percent of region's population and Mongolians, one of the 55 ethnic minority groups recognized in China.

Sources of tension include a cartoon that depicted Genghis Khan, Mongolia's greatest leader, as a pig. Genghis and his grandson Kublai conquered the Chinese in the 13th century. Another is Mongols are marginalized, both politically and economically, in a region of China with a putative degree of autonomy.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said an online forum for Mongolian students ( was closed for allegedly hosting separatist content. The Web site is not accessible from China. The media watchdog group alleges control over ethnic minorities is more restrictive than other members of Chinese society.

Inner Mongolia is a strategically important area of mainland China. It has easily accessible coal resources and is rich in rare earth metals. The region functions as a buffer zone between China and neighboring Russia and (outer) Mongolia.

According to state-run media, during his Oct.2-5 visit Zhou urged local officials "to work hard to resolve various social contradictions in an effort to build a harmonious society." He told local officials to make efforts "to cement ties with the great masses of the people in a bid to dissolve the inharmonious factors" as well as "further enhance unity among different ethnic groups."

Zhou has holds an impressive portfolio related to maintaining stability within the PRC. He is a member of the Communist Party Central Committee's Politburo and Secretariat organizations; Zhou also serves as the head of the Ministry of Public Security plus the National Narcotics Control Commission.




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