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 (www.ehoron.com) 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
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
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.