Security First? Patterns and Lessons from China’s Use of Law To Address National Security Threats

China’s legal approach to national security threats, and emergency situations in general, is more complex and subtle and thus richer in implications for comparative law and for understanding transnational legal influence. … Given China’s sheer scale and international importance, its legal reaction to any major issue is a substantial part of the worldwide response. China’s discussion, adoption, and use of legal means to address identified dangers – especially terrorism – have invoked concerns familiar from post-9/11 developments elsewhere and have engaged international legal norms, including ones that emerged in the wake of 9/11 and others that predated and survived it. The Chinese example thus does, or at least should, matter.

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