In one of today’s briefs, we have a story about a protest in Hunan over bus fees that ended up with the death of a young student. The story concludes by citing the government’s figures for “mass incidents” in 2006 at 23,000. As I remembered the number for 2005 being much higher, I thought immediately: Chinese government cooking the numbers again.
A quick Google turned up the 2005 number: 87,000. But it also turned up this story on one of China’s best blogs, EastSouthWestNorth, from last November. The author postulates:
… it is frequently cited that there were 87,000 “mass incidents”, which then gets spun into (365 days) x (24 hours per day) x (60 minutes per hour) / (87,000 incidents) = 6 minutes per incident — every six minutes, another mass resistance against human rights violation occurs in China! How shocking! And how could a nation stay together at this rate!
The point is: what is a mass incident? Certainly the Hunan protests in today’s brief features as one. But I wonder if my gut reaction to assume the Reds are tweaking the numbers is probably, for once, an honest example of them trying to get the stats right. Well…