The ultracapitalist totalitarian regime of China is having more and more problems. Last year was the Tibetan revolt, quelled bloodily, and (aka Xinjiang, aka East Turkestan). These two countries, together with Inner Mongolia, are the largest ethnically distinct nations under Chinese control (see note below) and Beijing has made repeated efforts to sinicise them, by means of colonization and aculturation.
Additionally the most populous state on Earth and allegedly the second economic power after the USA, is facing many other problems in the majoritary Han country as well. From a disastrous ecology, with ample economic implications, to widespread corruption, from a segregation policy between urban and rural dwellers that equates to internal colonialism to the instability of its attempts to control all communications and thoughts in the Internet era, China is a country that promotes wild capitalism under a red banner that nowadays has almost only a nationalist meaning.
As rather succesful capitalist country, it has faced but so far quelled the demands by the peoples of democracy and transparency that usually accompany such Buregueois processes. For how long will the unusual Chinese regime be able to contain the waters of that river of Chinese and other nationalities that demand more freedom, more transparency and less opression and totalitarian control?
I suspect that for not much longer.Though it can still be some years, specially as the regime can still claim the rather impressive success of the last decades. But eventually it will have to meet the demands of the people: it is unavoidable and should be good for the country.
Note: actually they are not the largest by number, as Ebizur made me notice in a comment, but they are by extension. The Zhuang, who live north of Vietnam are the largest nation in China after the Han themselves.
Update: troops have been sent into Urumqi and there are reports that suggest this is the deadliest clampdown in China since the Revolution. Official figures mention 159 deaths, mostly Han, but Uyghur sources say that the figure is much much larger and that almost all are ethnical Uyghurs.
Ethnic Han irregular squads have been reported attacking people (though at least in one case police intervened against them) and there are reports of thousands, mostly Uyghurs, arrested indiscriminately.