Mapping Terrorist Threats in China and the Political and Legal Responses

22 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2010

See all articles by Fu Hualing

Fu Hualing

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 29, 2010


This chapter discusses the various kinds of national security threats to China. It divides the threats into “high threats” and “low threats”. For “high threats”, they include the separatist movements fighting for independence from China and the “subversive” forces with an ostensible political goal to overthrow the monopoly of power held by the Chinese Communist Party. The term “low threats” in this chapter refers to the ad hoc, individualistic violence against the society at large with certain vaguely conceived political motivation, including the killing of judges, police officers and other government officials as a form of protest against certain government action. While China’s reaction to the high threats is swift, repressive and comprehensive, it has often neglected the individualist violence because it does not pose a direct challenge to the Party-state. Given the social and economic transition has enhanced people’s expectation and aspirations and generated new conflicts but the institutions lack the necessary legitimacy or capacity to contain and resolve social conflicts, such individualistic terrorism is increasing in intensity and frequency in China. The state is, however, less prepared for the emerging low threats which take the form of politically-motivated but individualistic violence.

Keywords: terrorism, Xinjiang, Tibet, China, Chinese Communist Party, national security, counterrevolution, criminal law, separatist movement, martial law, state of emergency, unrest, riot, subversion, rightful resistance, political violence, political dissidence, human rights, individualistic violence

JEL Classification: K, K1, K14, K3, K33, K4, K41, K42, N45, P2

Suggested Citation

Hualing, Fu, Mapping Terrorist Threats in China and the Political and Legal Responses (September 29, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Fu Hualing (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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