Remember how we had to learn about the Shi’ites, the Sunnis, the Kurds and all the smaller agents of Iraqi fragmentation? Over the next four months, until the Beijing Olympics open, the world is going to get a crash course in China’s various ethnic and religious minority groups and their resentments.
Violent stirrings in Tibet are just the beginning. With the world as stage, the Uighur Muslims of the north-western Xinjiang region, the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement, Mongols and Kazakhs and whoever else wants his moment in the sun will have a dream opportunity to rail.
I hope violence is contained, and the Chinese authorities show flexibility, but I’m not optimistic after a big demonstration in London on Sunday.