Here’s a real clue as to what’s going on inside China: The government is stirring up hatred of Tibetans, which is what is always done in war. Meanwhile Chinese dissident Wang Lixiong (married to a Tibetan and recently featured in the New York Review of Books [subscription needed to read]) has made a bold call for peace.

Last weekend, when the Chinese government starting filling the nation’s homes with seemingly non-stop televised images of Tibetan rioters pillaging and killing in the streets of Lhasa, Wang worried about the spiral of hatred being stirred up. He and a group of friends – Chinese writers, scholars, artists and lawyers – drafted a petition calling on the government to dial down the rhetoric, reflect on its policies and deal directly – and peacefully – with Tibetans’ leader-in-exile. The petition also called on Tibetans not to engage in violence. A well-known novelist and environmentalist, Wang was the petition’s first signatory. “Too many people are being inspired by propaganda now to hate the Tibetan people,” he says.