Much Remains Unknown

By Lauren Dickey

Lauren Dickey is a PhD candidate in War Studies at King's College London and the National University of Singapore, where her research focuses on Chinese strategy toward Taiwan. She is also a member of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders program at CSIS.

Over the last several years, China has learned that its borders and people are not immune to the threat of terrorism. This is particularly true as the low-level separatist insurgency led by Uighurs linked to the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP, formerly known as East Turkestan Independence Movement) against Beijing has been given new life through the rise of the Islamic State. This shift within the global web of terrorist activity has much higher costs for China, as it increases the likelihood of internal and peripheral instability and threatens the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party. 

In response, Beijing passed its first counterterrorism law, which took effect in January 2016. Chinese officials rationalized the law as a necessary step to fight terrorism at home and abroad; an important legal framework in which to prevent and punish terrorist activities and safeguard national and public security. But for rights activists, it is seen as a law that enables even tighter control of the Muslim Uighur population. The counterterrorism (CT) law gives central government bodies authority over the perceived and actual threat of terrorism – from regulating capital flows and mass media to inspecting goods and people along and within Chinese borders. It further requires county governments to establish local apparatuses for conducting counterterrorism efforts. Importantly, the law gives Beijing the purview to establish CT cooperation with other nations, regions, or international organizations on an equal, mutually beneficial basis.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.


Categorized as:InternationalTagged with:

Related Articles

How Safe Would We Be Without Section 702?

SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — A provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that has generated controversy around fears of the potential for abuse has proven to be crucial […] More