1 October 2012


Christian Göbel and Lynette H Ong


  • This report sheds light on the forms, manifestations and root causes of social unrest and its role in China's political system. It also analyses the various strategies of the Chinese government for mitigating and countering protests. 
  • The rise of social unrest in China is not a sign of imminent regime collapse. Nevertheless, it bears risks that could severely disrupt China's social stability and thereby the interests of the European Union. 
  • The EU should pay close attention to three phenomena: acts of repression undermining human rights in China, decreasing legitimacy at home that may prompt China to overreact in regional and international disputes, and surveillance technologies produced in Europe that might be applied to suppress dissent in China. 
This paper forms part of the ECRAN project's publication series. ECRAN is a three-year project funded by the European Union to provide advice on China to European policy makers. More about ECRAN.