In Weng'an, Guizhou, a teenage girl was raped and murdered. The three suspects "were interrogated for a day and then released" (Washington Times). The reason for the leniency was as simple as it was outrageous: "two of whom were related to officials in the county's public security bureau." The ensuing events revealed how and why the Chinese Communist Party continues to get away with enslaving its own people and threatening the rest of the globe.
After the local cadres declared the murder a "suicide" (Washington Post), the victim's uncle demanded justice - and was beaten to death by Communist-backed thugs. Enraged, thousands of citizens descended upon the police stations and local regime buildings and counter-attacked - and odds are, that last part is all most Americans and others will know about what happened. For the Communists, that's a huge win - it's just another "riot" due to some cadre misdeed or other that led to a local overreaction, while the hidden truth is only known to the folks who were there.
There are many reasons for this. First and foremost - the Communists have wronged their own people in so many ways (Boycott 2008, Central News Agency of Taiwan, The Epoch Times, London Telegraph, and the Washington Times) that the rest of the world becomes inured. Even other reports of the Weng'an incident (CNN and, in a rare misstep, the Epoch Times), stray into the general Communist oppression. Only the Post noticed and reported how the cadres' thugs beat the grieving uncle to death - which not only explains the actual reason for the violent reaction but puts it in badly needed context. Without that vital piece of information, this story can fall into the usual "yes-but" mode into which "engagement" supporters shift when the truth about the CCP starts to seep out.
This has become such an easy reflex that the cadres have picked it up, too. They'll have "negotiations" with the Dalai Lama (BBC and Washington Times) in no small part to blunt the embarrassment of their latest Tibet "media tour" (NRO Media Blog). When their alliance with "entrepreneurs" reveals the rapacious greed of all involved (Washington Post), they highlight their Potemkin cities and their "flexibility" (Washington Post). Extending beyond the borders, the cadres can deflect criticism over its support for Zimbabwean thug Robert Mugabe (Channel News Asia and Washington Times) with a warming of ties with Japan (Epoch Times), and the recent good behavior of its Korean colony (BBC and CNN).
Yet even here, the conversation can only go so far. Communist China's reconciliation with Taiwan may bring sighs of relief (BBC), but it also brings new pressure for Taiwan to muzzle its own citizens in order to "accommodate more than 3,000 mainland tourists starting in July" (Epoch Times). America's dealings with Stalinist North Korea look promising on the surface, but look too closely and it becomes clear that there is far less than meets the eye (BBC, One Free Korea, and the Washington Post).
More broadly, the entire "peaceful rise" meme gets tripped up by the discussion of radical nationalism - the one issue that "engagement" backers and other appeasers of the regime treat as the dark monster in the forest that no one can discuss (Int'l Hearld Tribune). Any discussion of Communist espionage (WLS) or its overseas intimidation (Epoch Times) becomes taboo (and, if they're in a pinch, all of the other issues above) - and here is where the need for proper context reasserts itself.
The "nationalist" argument is supposed to silence any critic of the regime, much like the report of a "riot" is supposed to silence any questions about Weng'an. Yet like Weng'an, the conventional wisdom misses a pertinent fact: the greatest thing holding the Chinese nation back is the Chinese Communist Party, which is itself a foreign infection from Moscow. Thus, an incomplete discussion of the nationalism issue redounds to the Communists' benefit - even if the folks having the discussion are themselves critics of the regime.
What this teaches us is to always look for the entire story; the cadres can turn half-truths to their benefit all the time. No better example of this exists than in Weng'an itself, where the cadres covered up for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, murdered her uncle, and still got decent publicity because the ensuing outrage by the locals dominated the coverage.