In early August, the president of the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress claimed that at least 2,000 members of China's Uyghur minority had been killed the previous month in and around Elishku, a town in China's far west. China's 12 million Uyghurs are Muslims who speak a language related to Turkish and who enjoy few civil, national, political, or religious rights under China's nationalistic and authoritarian system.
Beijing eventually admitted to killing 96 people in the incident, but did not allow any international or independent media or human rights monitors into the area. The incident took place in a very remote area; the violence likely involved police opening fire on demonstrators, rather than tanks or heavy vehicles.
Which is a reminder of just how unique an event the Hong Kong protests have been.
In a cosmopolitan center of international finance, Beijing has had to carefully tread around its handling of mass dissent. It wants to impose its will on a restive population without having to resort to measures that could tarnish China's image or risk a further escalation.