China’s Response to Terrorism
Murray Scot Tanner with James Bellacqua
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission - June 2016
This report was prepared in response to a request from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission for a study on China’s efforts to comb at terrorism. It analyzes (1) China’s evolving definition and perception of its terrorist threat, (2) China’s strategy and policies for combating terrorism, (3) the institutional infrastructure that executes China's counterterrorism policies, (4) China’s evolving approach to international cooperation in counterterrorism, and (5) the opportunities for, and challenges of, U.S.-China cooperation on countering terrorism.
The following are the key findings.
It is difficult to determine the nature and magnitude of China’s terrorism problem.
An absence of detailed information released by the Chinese government on violence in China, and the lack of reliable alternative means for independent corroboration, make it difficult to identify, assess, or measure acts of terrorism occurring on Chinese soil. In some cases, acts of violence that Chinese officials and state media have labeled as terrorism do not meet the definitions of the term that are widely accepted outside of China. Concurrently, other cases of violent crimes that observers would describe as terrorism using these definitions are sometimes not described as terrorism by Chinese authorities. Key questions are left largely unaddressed in Chinese official statements and authoritative media reporting, and adequate independent sources concerning the details of reported incidents are often also lacking.
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