Adam Minter, of the ShanghaiScrap blog (and an Atlantic author), has noticed a heartbreaking and consequential bit of sloppiness in a NYT report today out of Beijing. The Times quoted a Beijing resident on what is, given the attack on police in the largely-Islamic Xinjiang region of China, perhaps the most sensitive topic of the moment: the Chinese government's efforts to quash what it considers mounting terrorist potential from its Muslim Uighur minority. The Times understandably grants its source anonymity on this topic, given the potential risks to him if he were identified -- and then carelessly identifies him! Minter quotes the crucial passage from this Times story today:
The owner of the Xinjiang Kashgar Restaurant near the main Olympic venue said he shut down Tuesday [of last week] after repeated visits from officials who cited health concerns. He said several other Muslim restaurants nearby had received similar visits. The owner, a Uighur, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear that he would be further harassed by the authorities.
The passage is still in the story at the NYT's site as of two minutes ago -- although once the info has been published at all, I guess whether it stays up is moot.
I know that very restaurant and went past it today on my trip out to the Olympic venue. Poor guy. This can't have been intentional, but the results are the same as if it were. And no one within the NYT system looked at these two sentences and said, Wait a minute... ?