The rise of China is generally thought to be one of the greatest potential threats to the dominance of the US. China’s massive economic growth, increasing military spending and engagement with rogue states and opponents of the US is a cause for concern.
But Chinese manufacturing is a vital part of the world economy, and China holds nearly a quarter of the world’s population. China’s growth is also causing environmental devastation, increased social tensions, and serious structural vulnerabilities. Too little thought has gone into the consequences of increased violence or collapse of China. That’s not to say that the subject has never been addressed, far from it – for example Global Guerrillas, this Yale Law School debate (“Will China Face Civil War?”) and the discussion of Xinjiang separatism at Simulated Laughter which inspired this post.
In fact, China is generally seen as peaceful (if repressed), at “low risk of terrorism”, or even a “terrorism free zone” (real quotes). The following list, which I have compiled from dozens of sources, refutes that. China doesn’t have fewer terrorist attacks, it is just that their government is good at covering them up, giving them minimal attention to avoid panic, and finding scapegoats to prosecute (and execute) in lieu of the actual perpetrators. And a list of major riots and disturbances would be far longer.
- February 25 or 27, Urumqi: Three simultaneous bus bombings kill 9 and injure 68-74.
- March 7, Beijing: Bus bombing kills 3, injures 8. Contradictory reports about Xinjiang separatist connection.
- February and March, Xinjiang: Six bombs hit economic targets, including a gas pipeline near Qaghiliq.
- February 14, Wuhan: Suspected Xinjiang separatists bomb the Chang Jiang Bridge, killing up to 50.
- April, Xinjiang: Eight bombs hit the homes and offices of officials, injuring 8.
- July 2, Lhasa: Bomb explodes.
- January 6, Liaoning Province: Bus bombing kills 19.
- January 13, Zhuhai City: Bus stop bombing injures 4.
- January 17, Changsha: Bus bombing injures 37.
- January 18, Shenyang: Railway station arson traps 11 passengers for 2 hours.
- January 20, Shijiazhuang: Beijing-Guangzhou railway severed by a bomb.
- January 25, Yizhang County, Hunan Province: Marketplace bombing kills 9 and injures 65.
- February 2, Henan province: Policeman wounded while removing bomb from hotel.
- February 7, Qijiang County near Chongqing: School clinic bomb kills 2 and injures 1.
- April 20, Yinchuan, Ningxia: Bomb possibly linked to Islamic separatists kills four policemen.
- June 24, Chengdu: Bus bombing kills 1, injures up to 50.
- September, Shijazhuang: A series of small bombs hit shopping malls and public transport, injuring up to 28.
- September 8, Urumqi: Vehicle carrying explosives to be destroyed “accidentally” blew up, killing 60 and injuring 200.
- March 16, Shijazhuang: Four simultaneous apartment bombings kill at least 108. The official explanation blames them on one man, but leaves many questions unanswered.
- August 2, Garze, Tibet: Bomb injures three at government headquarters. Another bomb targets a government office in Kangding with no casualties.
- October 14, Hotan: Bombing injures two at meteorological center.
- November 22, Xinjiang: Policeman killed in raid on station; in a separate incident a judge was stabbed to death and his wife injured.
- December 14, Xian: Bomb kills two and injures 27 at a McDonalds restaurant.
- December 14, Guangdong: 20 blasts kill five and injure two.
- December 23, Qingdao City: Bomb causes damage in a shopping centre carpark.
- December 24, Taishun County, Zhejiang Province: Explosion kills family of three in worker’s housing unit.
- May 11, Xiamen: Unsuccessful hijacking of an airliner by a man with two knives.
- October 2, Guilin: Suicide bombing injures 18.
- August 13, Guangzhou: Car bomb in hotel lobby kills one, injures three. Masked bomber escapes.
- January 22/23, Zhengzhou: Railway station bomb kills 2 and injures 4.
- July 17, Shenzhen: Pipe bomb kills 2 and injures 2 outside a movie theatre.
- March 17, Jiangxi Province: Bus explosion kills 30 and injures 7.
- June 23, Handan: Garage explosion kills 3 and injures 16.
- August 8, Fuzhou: Cancer sufferer commits suicide bombing on a bus, injuring 31.
- November 25, Guanzhou: Bus bombing injures 3.
- January 7: Suicide bombing kills five at courthouse.
- January 20, Renshou County, Sichuan: Gas pipeline explosion kills 10, injures 50. Cause not known.
- April 6, Guangyuan: Suicide bombing injures judge at courthouse.
- April 10, Yuanping: Blast at the staff hospital of Xuangang Coal and Electricity Co. kills 31.
- May 6, Hefei,: Bombs at two internet cafes kill 2 and injure 4.
- October 18, Huangmaoling: Father and son allegedly throw homemade bombs into crowd, killing 2 and injuring 17.
- October 28, Karamay, Xinjiang: Oil tank explodes, killing 17 and injuring up to 12. Cause “under investigation”, but sabotage by separatists is possible.
- December 16, Urumqi: Bomb at children’s hospital injures two.
- January 3, Shenzhen: Roadside bomb kills two children.
- January 5, Xinjiang: One policeman and 18 suspected terrorists killed during a raid on a “terrorist camp”. 17 more were captured.
- January 9, Shenzhen: Another child seriously injured by a small bomb.
Disclaimer: This list was compiled from publicly available sources, some of which may have been inaccurate. Some of these incidents may not have been terrorist attacks. Conversely, many unexplained explosions not in this list may actually have been terrorism-related.