Police patrol a street in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region. File photo: AFP
The world is paying increasing attention to the situation in China's Tibetan region, and also to the recent increase in police strength in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Many people outside China see incidents in China's ethnic minority areas as one of the country's biggest challenges.
It is true that in recent years, Tibet and Xinjiang have not been as peaceful as before.
China's reform and opening-up and social reforms have brought many changes. Conflicts are on the rise both in inland and border areas. But the reform and opening-up drive has also made the country more able to maintain stability. Growing experience and knowledge is helping Chinese society eliminate many worries that China used to have.
The grass-roots level of Chinese society, including in Tibet and Xinjiang, will certainly become more diverse both in thought and interests thanks to the opening-up drive. This will make some external forces take advantage of globalization and manipulate minorities in China.
As a result, conflicts are more likely to occur in ethnic minority areas than before. But friction in these areas is more easily associated with politics and is always regarded as sensitive because they occur in ethnic minority areas. We cannot eliminate such sensitivity.
The reality is China cannot prevent every single mass incident in Tibet and Xinjiang. It would exhaust Chinese society and the governments of the two autonomous regions.
But society should place great emphasis on the grass-roots problems in Tibet and Xinjiang. First, more efforts should be made to reduce incidents that will affect stability. Furthermore, everything should keep pace with the times.
The future improvement of China's ethnic minority policy should take the predicament of globalization into consideration.
Society should also have a new attitude toward maintaining stability. It should be more open-minded and accept the fact that a little disorder is inevitable in an era of globalization.
The unrest that the world usually sees hides the firm foundation of stability in Chinese society.
About 80 percent of urban households own their houses, and the social security system is expanding to rural areas. All these are foundations for national stability.
The frequent mass incidents in inland areas influence ethnic minority areas, and also the stability of the inland.
As long as China remains stable as a whole, the specific problems in the border areas can be kept under control. We should have faith in this.
We should also avoid being impatient. It is not us, but people like the aging Dalai Lama who should worry.
As long as we accept the reality that some incidents are inevitable in parts of Chinese society, including Tibet and Xinjiang, much of the air attached to Dalai Lama's political power will be squeezed out.
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