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Repression, opportunity, and innovation: The evolution of terrorism in Xinjiang, China


Terrorism and Political ViolenceJournal abstract

How does state repression affect the incidence and impact of terrorism? This study conducts a process tracing analysis of the ongoing contention between the Uyghur separatist movement and the Chinese state to provide a plausible explanation for the present lack of consensus on this question. Relying on insights from collective action theory, it argues that although repression was initially successful in curtailing the opportunistic use of terrorism, novel political opportunity allowed some separatists to adopt innovations, such as suicide bombing, to circumvent repression. Repression has since proved ineffective in quelling terrorism, and will likely remain incapable of forestalling future terrorist innovations.



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