Listening is an art, perhaps more so in the opaque world of Chinese politics. What is not said is sometimes as important as, if not more so than, what is said. That is because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rarely admits a policy mistake or announces that it is changing course to avoid a loss of face.
Catching the sound of silence is a tricky, arcane business. But when it happens, the experts perk up and try to decipher what will follow. So it was with the community of Tibet watchers in China late last month when the party's elite 200-odd-member Central Committee convened its seventh Tibet Work Forum in Beijing.