TIME World

These Are The Oldest Living People in the World

Guinness World Records announced Wednesday that Sakari Momoi, an 111-year-old retired teacher who lives in Tokyo, is now the oldest living man. The avid Chinese poetry reader succeeds Alexander Imich, a New Yorker who died in June at 111. Here, TIME rounds-up other known super-centenarians.

TIME Foreign Policy

Obama Says ‘Entire World Is Appalled’ By ISIS Beheading of Journalist

"No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day"

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President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the “entire world is appalled” by the death of American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria more than 18 months ago and whose death was depicted in a video Tuesday.

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) posted the graphic video of the execution on Tuesday, calling it retribution for American airstrikes against Sunni extremist forces in Iraq. The U.S. intelligence community has authenticated the video, National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said.

“Today the entire world is appalled by the murder of journalist Jim Foley,” Obama said Wednesday in an emotional statement from Martha’s Vineyard.

Obama said the Middle East must work to “extract this cancer” that threatens the stability of Iraq and the region. “[ISIS] speaks for no religion,” Obama said. “Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim.”

“No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day,” he added.

Obama called Foley’s family on Wednesday morning to express his condolences on the loss of their son.

“Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world,” Obama said.

The video also includes a threat to kill Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist who has written for TIME and other outlets, and has been missing since August 2013. “We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families,” Obama said. “We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.”

Obama said the United States would continue its efforts to confront ISIS. “The United States of America will do what we must to protect our people,” he said. “We will be vigilant, and we will be relentless.”

A Facebook page affiliated with the Foley family’s campaign for his release posted a message Tuesday evening from his mother, Diane Foley.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim,” she wrote. “He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. …We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”

Foley “was taken by an organized gang after departing from an internet café in Binesh, Syria,” near the Turkish border, the FBI said in an alert following the Nov. 22, 2012, kidnapping. He was in Binesh covering the Syrian civil war for the GlobalPost website and AFP.

Foley, 40, grew up in New Hampshire, where his parents live.

-Additional reporting by Mark Thompson.

TIME Crime

What We Know and Don’t Know About the Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson

Ferguson Cutraro
A protestor demonstrates in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 19, 2014. Andrew Cutraro—REDUX for TIME

There's a lot we know about the death of Michael Brown and its aftermath, but many questions remain unanswered

It’s been 11 days since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white policeman in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, the violent protests that followed have drawn national attention and flummoxed authorities and elected officials looking to lower the temperature. But we’re still missing a lot of key facts about the incident and the ongoing investigations. Despite a calmer night on Tuesday, no one knows when the nightly clashes will end.

Here’s a rundown of what we know—and what we don’t—about the turmoil playing out in this St. Louis suburb.

How did Wilson encounter Brown?

Shortly before noon on Aug. 9, Brown walked into Ferguson Market and Liquor, a convenience store on West Florissant Avenue. He was with a friend, 22-year-old Dorian Johnson. At approximately 11:51, according to a police report, an unidentified officer received a call that a robbery was in progress at the store. But the suspect, who a Brown family lawyer has acknowledged “appears to be” Brown from surveillance footage, was gone when the officer arrived.

Minutes later, Brown and Johnson turned onto Canfield Drive, where they came upon a second officer, Wilson, at 12:01 p.m. At that point, Wilson didn’t know Brown was suspected of committing the robbery minutes earlier, according to Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson. He just saw a pair of people blocking traffic. Ferguson police have provided conflicting reports on whether Wilson received information that Brown was a robbery suspect between the moment that the officer encountered Brown and the fatal shooting.

So what led to the shooting?

It’s unclear and witness accounts differ. What we know is that within about three minutes, Brown was dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso. Pictures show him sprawled face down in the middle of the street, with a trail of what appears to be blood seeping from his body.

Johnson has said that Wilson ordered them onto the sidewalk and when they didn’t move right away, the office pulled up to Brown. A struggle ensued, and in Johnson’s version of events, Brown was shot from inside the car before they both took off running with Wilson in pursuit. Johnson has said Wilson fired multiple times despite Brown having his hands up.

Other witnesses have provided conflicting accounts, alternately alleging that Brown was shot in the back or while on his knees in a posture of surrender. And Wilson’s version of events is even harder to ascertain, because he’s in hiding: He fled his St. Louis-area neighborhood a few days after shooting and hasn’t spoken publicly. Police have said Brown reached for Wilson’s gun and the shooting occurred during that struggle. It’s unclear why Brown was shot so many times.

Why has it taken so long for details of the shooting to come out?

Wilson’s name was withheld for almost a week out of concerns for his safety. Three dueling autopsies have either been conducted or ordered—the standard one by the local medical examiner, a private one requested by the family, and a third one ordered by federal authorities.

And federal and state authorities have mostly declined to comment on their pending investigations, while leaks have been kept to a minimum, likely to avoid fanning the cycle of violence that has roiled the city’s downtown streets.

Who’s investigating all this?

Multiple authorities at various levels of law enforcement are looking into the shooting. A St. Louis County grand jury is probing the matter. And a federal civil rights investigation is also underway.

Why does violence keep breaking out every night?

It’s instigated by a small faction of what police describe as “agitators.” They mix in with the crowd of peaceful demonstrators, but they’re on the scene to confront cops as much as to mourn Brown. These people are shooting guns, hurling bricks, bottles and Molotov cocktails, and looting and vandalizing businesses. After dark, West Florissant Avenue and the neighboring streets are extremely dangerous, and several people have been shot.

Who’s trying to keep the peace in Ferguson?

On the demonstrators’ side, it’s a diverse collection of pastors, politicians, community leaders, black power groups, and many ordinary citizens who are disheartened by the way in which the violence has subverted the quest for justice. The vast majority of the protesters in the streets are peaceful—at least, until dark.

Riot-gear clad officers from the county and state highway patrol—now backed by the Missouri National Guard—have responded to provocations from protesters with tear gas, flash bangs, and other methods.

What happens next?

A St. Louis County grand jury will begin hearing evidence on Wednesday. But there’s no hard timetable on how long the whole process will take, and it could be weeks or months before the details of the investigation are know, the U.S. Attorney in Eastern Missouri told TIME Tuesday.

TIME Military

Here’s What Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Plans to Do After Investigation Ends

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl preparing to be interviewed by Army investigators in Aug. 2014.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl preparing to be interviewed by Army investigators in Aug. 2014. Eugene R. Fidell—AP

Army sergeant wants to leave the military and go to college

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl plans to pursue a college education after the investigation into his disappearance in Afghanistan is completed, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The army sergeant who was held prisoner for almost five years by the Taliban feels like he is in a holding pattern and wants to get on with his life, Bergdahl’s attorney Gene Fidell told CBS News.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, the Army investigator assigned with establishing the facts behind Bergdahl’s disappearance from a military post in Afghanistan in 2009, has said he will likely submit his report in September, later than anticipated.

“If it’s not soup yet, it’s not soup, and the only person who can make that determination is Major General Dahl,” Fidell told CBS.

Several soldiers have accused Bergdahl of abandoning his post before he was captured by the Taliban, which could result in desertion charges.

[CBS]

TIME Guns

NRA Ad Campaign Has Michael Bloomberg in Its Crosshairs

Multimillion-dollar campaign tells billionaire gun control advocate to go back to New York

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In an effort to combat former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s high profile campaign for stronger gun control, the National Rifle Association is launching a national ad campaign to malign the business magnate and strike back at one of the gun advocacy group’s biggest detractors.

The campaign, which kicks off Wednesday, is part of a multimillion-dollar effort to stir up negative perceptions of the New York billionaire, USA Today reports. Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, called Bloomberg “an arrogant hypocrite who thinks he knows best how people should live their lives.”

Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million to build a grassroots network of gun control advocates in order to counter the NRA’s lobbying prowess, and has spent money across the country to defeat candidates who are staunch gun rights advocates.

Americans remain divided on gun control law, according to an Oct. 2013 Gallup poll. Public support for stricter laws covering the sale of firearms fell to 49% after reaching 58% in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings in which 20 children were killed. A total of 37% say laws should be kept as they are, with 13% wanting more lax regulations.

Gun control advocates say Congress’s failure to pass a measure to restrict the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines after the Sandy Hook shootings reflects the NRA’s pervasive influence on Capitol Hill.

An NRA ad will run nationally on cable television and in digital ads in states with key Senate races including Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina and Georgia. “Hey, Bloomberg: Keep your politics in New York. And keep your hands off our guns and our freedom,” says the commercial.

[USA Today]

TIME Crime

6 Child Hostages in Chicago Suburb Safely Released

Denard Eaves
Acting Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves, right, walks back to a command vehicle as law enforcement officials continue to negotiate with at least one hostage-taker for the release of two children and two adults inside a house in the southern Chicago suburb of Harvey on Aug. 20, 2014. M. Spencer Green—AP

The hostage situation began Tuesday with a break-in and a shootout with police

Updated at 10:45 a.m.

Four remaining hostages, including two children, who had been held in a barricaded home in suburban Chicago were finally released Wednesday morning after 20 hours of being held, authorities said.

Four boys between the ages of one and 11 had been held in the house since Tuesday afternoon and were released Tuesday evening outside the home, reports the Chicago Tribune. But two additional children, along with two adults, were still being held hostage by two armed men in the house early Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, the two children, aged six and 12 were released, as well as two adults with them, Fox Chicago reports. The two suspects were taken into custody.

A break-in early Tuesday afternoon in the Chicago suburb of Harvey led to an exchange of gunfire as police officers approached the scene. One officer was wounded in the elbow but is in stable condition. A second officer was grazed in the arm and treated at the scene.

At least one negotiator was in communication with a gunman via a window, said Harvey spokesman Sean Howard.

[Chicago Tribune]

 

TIME Crime

Ferguson Reaches ‘Turning Point’ as Violence Eases

Andrew Cutraro—REDUX for TIME

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson praised the efforts of the local community in helping to disperse violent protests, as 47 were arrested

Tuesday night marked a significant decline in violence between protesters and police in Ferguson, Mo., 10 days after the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer brought nights of unrest to the streets of this St. Louis suburb.

For the first night in a week, police did not employ tear gas, instead using National Guard tactical teams to identify the loudest and most imposing protesters, arresting some 47 people, mostly for failure to disperse. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told reporters at an early morning conference that it was a sea change from the looting and unrest of previous nights.

“I believe there was a turning point made tonight,” he said, speaking the day Attorney General Eric Holder was due to arrive in Ferguson to meet with investigators looking into the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9. A grand jury probe of Brown’s death was also expected to be convened on Wednesday morning.

Johnson praised the efforts of local clergy and civilians to diffuse the tension on the contested strip of West Florissant Ave. Peacefully-protesting organizers, including members of the clergy, held a large prayer circle at 12:35 a.m., then sought to send the crowd home rather than see them clash with police.

In the minutes following that prayer, elder protesters approached the teens and 20-somethings on the fringes and pleaded with them to go home. Most, if not all, declined. In an exchange witnessed by this reporter, linebacker-sized community activist Paul Muhammad, wearing fatigues and a black t-shirt reading “Peacekeepers,” approached a teenage boy wearing a red bandana over his face. “If you’re going to be out here all night, then I’ll be out here all night. Let’s just go home,” he said. When the teen demurred, Muhammad asked him to show his face. “You don’t need the mask,” he said. The teenager replied: “I don’t got no face.”

It was from this cluster of fringe onlookers, who had declined to participate in marches up and down W. Florissant for much of the evening, that a single water bottle was hurled at police. The bottle missed its mark, yet set in motion a police advance south on W. Florissant, with glass and urine being hurled at police and officers responding by pepper-spraying several protesters. One such agitator, said Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, was an out-of-state violator from Austin, Texas.

Johnson was visibly weary yet in a celebratory mood after a day that saw several store owners re-open their doors on W. Florissant, and an easing of nighttime violence. He told reporters at a 2:30 a.m. news conference that he and other officers had encountered a local woman grilling out on her front lawn. She offered officers “hot dogs and ice-cold water,” he said, “and what a good hot dog it was. That is the true spirit of Ferguson.”

Demonstrators in Ferguson have decried what they describe as an influx of out-of-towners who have been involved in violence and looting. In the previous day’s clash with police, 21st ward alderman Antonio French claimed to have identified a man from Chicago in a picture who was launching projectiles at police.

Peaceful protesters on Tuesday night took heed of the reports of French and others, carefully monitoring protesters who seemed non-native to St. Louis County. At one point, two masked men hurled to the ground a fair-skinned man who seemed to reach for a brick as police advanced toward the group of protesters. The man recovered and ran south and out of sight as his attackers screamed “Where you from?”

Missouri Attorney-General Chris Koster earlier in the day delivered to protesters the news of the grand jury investigation. That news, repeated over and over again on a loudspeaker by a protester following the impromptu prayer, didn’t seem to resonate with those who had earlier chanted the anti-police invective “F–k 12.”

For them, these protests have become about something else.

—With reporting by P. Nash Jenkins

TIME Crime

Nobody Is Winning in Ferguson

Police Shooting Missouri
Police stand guard Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Christian Gooden—AP

Everyone is being hurt by the tragic events in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. — The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown is above all a tragedy for his family. But in Ferguson, Mo., there is more than enough tragedy to go around. Virtually no one connected to the tumult in this St. Louis suburb—whether by proximity, profession, or ideology; by happenstance or choice—has escaped the nightly clashes without suffering in ways big or small.

When darkness falls, violence rips through a battered strip of downtown and forks into quiet neighborhoods. Families are trapped in their homes as gunshots ring out and cops fire tear gas into apartment complexes. It’s become enough that some people are ready to leave. Anita Matlock, a 20-year-old certified nurse assistant, is breaking her lease at Canfield Green, the beige-and-brown three-story apartment complex that fronts the street where Brown was shot. The early morning hours there are now pierced by volleys of gunfire. “It’s too disruptive,” says her mother, Yvonne Matlock. “She can’t get in. Can’t get out. Can’t sleep.”

Ron Henry, from the nearby town of Florissant, says his fiancée Clarissa and his 3-year-old son, Ron Jr., had automatic weapons pointed at them by police while trying to leave his grandmother’s apartment near the center of the conflict. Their car was swallowed by smoke. “Rioting,” Henry says, “is the voice of the unheard.” But that doesn’t mean he wants to raise his family among it. “Does my three-year old son need to get gassed?” he asked.

The tumult has closed local schools, sending working parents scrambling to make arrangements to watch and feed their children. Last year, 68% of students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district received meal assistance of some kind; this year the program was extended to everyone. The loss of the subsidy stings for residents of a city whose median household income is about $36,000.

It’s been no better for businesses. Stores along West Florissant Avenue, the Ferguson thoroughfare that has been the locus of the riots, have been torched and looted. Many others in town are boarded up; the owner of a fashion boutique spray-painted “OPEN! BLACK OWNERS” onto the wooden planks covering the shop to deter vandals. At the shopping center about a quarter-mile down the road—where Missouri National Guard tanks are arrayed in rows in the parking lot and military observers perch on rooftops— sales have plunged as stores close early to avoid the evening chaos.

For everyone in the area, unpredictable police roadblocks turn driving after dark into a maze without an exit. After midnight, residents can find themselves on the wrong side of police barricades, unable to get home or to work. Even on the most peaceful days since the shooting, the streets are still unruly and chaotic, a cacophony of honking horns, angry shouts and carloads of people hanging out of windows, slinging epithets at police.

The vast majority of the hundreds, sometimes thousands of people protesting each day are law-abiding. But the large community of peaceful protesters, who have thronged the streets for nine days in an effort to bring social change, have seen a heartfelt cause partially co-opted by a small band of what law enforcement officials have described as “agitators.” In the morning, the protesters show up early to sweep the streets of the previous night’s trash. Day and night, they tote signs and chant slogans. On Monday, to comply with a new police edict that prohibited crowds from congregating in one spot, they resorted to walking laps, looping up and down West Florissant for hours, carrying red roses handed out by volunteers and passing out free water when people flagged in the stifling August heat.

For much of the day, community leaders are able to steer protests into sanctioned areas and keep the crowd in check. The challenge comes after nightfall. That’s when a faction of agitators files into the streets. They are there not to protest but to fight. They can mingle with the protesters, cloaking themselves in the crowd and making it hard for police to distinguish the troublemakers from the rest. Many are not from Ferguson. At least 78 people were arrested Monday night, and while most were reportedly from Missouri, some were from places as far-flung as California, New York, and Washington D.C.

According to locals and local enforcement officials, the ranks also include multiple gang members from Chicago and East St. Louis who have forged an uneasy truce to pursue a common enemy. There are young gang members who wrap red bandannas over their mouths, gas mask-wearing anarchists, and communist revolutionaries.

The violent faction has repeatedly derailed the demonstrations, despite the efforts of peaceful members of the crowd. Each night the struggle starts again. On Friday, the peace held until the early morning hours, when the fighters began looting businesses, hurling Molotov cocktails and setting fires. On Saturday, as time ticked away toward a midnight curfew, the peacekeepers roamed the crowd, imploring people to go home. Those that stayed were bent on conflict. “We ready to die,” one shouted as the gas came out. “They armed. We armed. Let’s do this!” said another.

Monday night brought an eerie calm to the streets. It was shattered around 9:30 p.m., when a clutch of agitators surged toward a police line, hurling glass bottles and plastic containers of water at officers. Police gathered their riot gear and put on their gas masks, readying for battle. Community leaders pleaded for the cops to hold off and confronted the provocateurs, linking their arms to form a human barricade between the crowd and the police. “Why are you doing this to us?” one peacekeeper screamed. It was a remarkable scene that seemed to defuse the situation.

A few minutes later someone threw a bottle, and the ritual chaos was unleashed.

As difficult as it is for the peaceful protesters, the skirmishes are no easier for police. Flat-screens around the U.S. have been flooded with images of armored trucks, riot-gear-clad police toting rifles, and clouds of gas. But those images rarely capture the chaos that precedes it.

Surveilling the streets of Ferguson is a chaotic job, marred by the mismanagement of the city police, jurisdictional tangles, hostile crowds, and tactics that seem to change nightly. The cops have been thrust into the impossible position of trying to balance intense political scrutiny with their mandate for public safety—and they are forced to carry out under the klieg lights of the national media, amid chaotic street fights.

“The situation, as volatile as it is, it doesn’t make a difference what decision you make. It will be wrong,” says one St. Louis County officer, who was not authorized to provide his name, as he patrolled a darkened street on Monday night, past graffiti scrawled on cement blocks that read “NO MORE PIGS.”

After heavy criticism for the military-style response by local law enforcement, the Missouri State Highway Patrol took control of the scene Thursday and adopted a laissez-faire approach. Riots broke out the next night. Police did little to stop the looting—partly on the advice of community leaders, who believed interceding could result in more violence. The next day, many protesters said they believed the hands-off treatment that allowed the rioting was a set-up to sully the crowd’s image.

The police are “working valiantly to protect the public, while at the some time preserving citizens’ rights to express their anger peacefully,” said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat. “As we’ve seen over the past week, it is not an easy balance to strike. And it becomes much more difficult in the dark of night, when organized and increasingly violent instigators take to the streets intent on creating chaos.”

The protests are fueled by a deep distrust between the community and the cops. It is hard to find a black man or woman at the nightly gatherings who does not have a story about experiencing some manner of racial profiling, intimidation and even brutality at the hands of police. “Black people want retribution,” says James Davis, 45.

The police—most of whom had absolutely nothing to do with Michael Brown’s death—have their own loyalties and grievances. “We’re all gangs,” says one police officer of the factions in Ferguson. “We’re in a gang too, just because of the uniform we wear.”

Meanwhile, the residents of Ferguson, weary of the nightly battles, are starting to worry what it will all yield. “It would be an injustice in his name to go back to the violence,” says Lacy Raye of St. Louis. “We just have to turn it into a positive. I think this will change everything, if we can put it in a positive light. But I don’t know.”

TIME russia

Chinese, Russian Media Turn Criticisms Back on U.S.

Police Shooting Missouri
A man is arrested as police try to disperse a crowd during protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 20, 2014. Jeff Roberson—AP

"China gets criticized so much by the West that when something like this happens, it's convenient to offer a countercriticism"

(BEIJING) — Chinese and Russian state media have seized on the U.S. police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old and ensuing protests to fire back at Washington’s criticisms of their own governments, portraying the United States as a land of inequality and brutal police tactics.

The violence in the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson comes amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine, as well as friction between Washington and Beijing over what China sees as a campaign to thwart its rise as a global power.

Both countries have chafed under American criticism of their autocratic political systems — China and Russia tightly control protests and jail dissidents and demonstrators — and the events in Ferguson provided a welcome opportunity to dish some back.

“China gets criticized so much by the West that when something like this happens, it’s convenient to offer a counter-criticism,” said Ding Xueliang, an expert on Chinese politics at Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology.

The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 at the hands of a white police officer has inflamed racial tensions in the predominantly black suburb of Ferguson, where the police force is mostly white. Violent confrontations between police and protesters followed, in which tear gas, flash grenades and Molotov cocktails were exchanged.

A tartly-worded editorial in China’s Global Times newspaper on Tuesday said that while an “invisible gap” still separated white and black Americans, countries should deal with their problems in their own way without criticizing others.

“It’s ironic that the U.S., with its brutal manner of assimilating minorities, never ceases to accuse China and countries like it of violating the rights of minorities,” said the popular tabloid, published by the ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily.

The Xinhua News Agency ran a similar commentary, tossing in references to enduring racism, National Security Agency spying and drone attacks abroad.

“Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others,” Xinhua said.

U.S. criticisms of China center on attacks on political critics, along with heavy-handed policies toward minorities, especially Tibetans and the Muslim Uighur ethnicity from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Washington also chides Russia over its intolerance of dissent and has joined the European Union in imposing sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for Ukrainian separatists.

Both China and Russia have invested heavily in state-controlled news outlets to project their own version of events.

In Russia, state television station Rossiya emphasized the use of force in dispersing protesters in Ferguson, sending the underlying message to Russians that the security forces in the democratic West are no less brutal or tolerant of protest than in Russia. Shots of rampaging protesters also seemed meant as a warning of the dangers of allowing protests to get out of control.

In Monday’s broadcast, a reference to recent U.S. military interventions was thrown in for good measure.

“Everything looked as if it were a military operation somewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq,” said reporter Alexander Khristenko. “Forming themselves into their own kind of fist, the police slowly moved forward, clearing the street, and the people saved themselves by running into residential areas.”

Like Rossiya, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV sent a reporter to report live from Ferguson — something unthinkable in the case of similar unrest in China. It also ran clips from U.S. talk shows blasting the police action and quoted African-American political commentator Richard Fowler saying social injustice was worsening.

“I don’t think it’s just African-Americans. I think what you have is a continued fight between the haves and the have-nots,” Fowler said.

Russia’s always-bellicose Russia Today channel ran an interview with U.S. professor and government critic Mark Mason, who called the Ferguson protests an outgrowth of income inequality and the militarization of American police forces.

“The police protect the Wall Street bankers, who own the City Hall, the City Council, the State House, the Federal government, the president of the U.S. and the Congress,” Mason told the channel.

There were also distinctions between the Russian and Chinese coverage, reflecting domestic concerns and the state of their relations with Washington.

While Russia and the U.S. have feuded bitterly and publicly, Beijing has sought to cultivate a stable relationship with Washington in which it is treated as an equal partner. Unlike in Russia, the U.S. is also widely admired by the Chinese public, who’ve made it a top choice for overseas education, investment and emigration.

China maintains an official policy of non-intervention in other countries’ affairs and says criticisms should be made in private. Too much open vitriol could undermine that position, and apart from the opinion pieces, Chinese media’s coverage of Ferguson has been relatively straight-forward.

The issues of racism and social unrest are also delicate one for China, which has been shaken by a rising number of protests and a string of violent incidents blamed on Uighur radicals seeking to shake offChinese rule over Xinjiang. Critics say the ensuing security crackdown has led to widespread abuses, including the killing of civilians.

The danger is that overplaying its criticism of the U.S. could open the window for more critical self-reflection among Chinese citizens, especially minority groups, Ding said. “They want to avoid holding an unintended public education campaign.”

The government is aware of that and is likely muting its coverage of Ferguson to avoid comparisons with Xinjiang, said Qiao Mu, director of Beijing Foreign Studies University’s Center for International Communications Studies.

“They’re wary of collateral damage, of tainting themselves,” Qiao said.

— Associated Press writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report from Moscow

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