This article reviews how protest events in China take forms that are notably distinct from those of the Marxist-Leninist regimes of the twentieth century. It chronicles the upward trajectory of protests in China, remarkable because the trend occurs in a governance structure that seeks to limit independent civil society and the collective expression of grievances. We review several dimensions in which claims and grievances cluster, most of which can be attributed to China’s rapid development, and which potentially could develop into large and coordinated protest campaigns. As part of the party’s concern with maintenance of social harmony, we trace the development of China’s unique repertoire of repression, most notably the various dimensions of the techno-security state, its control of the internet, and development of high-tech surveillance and social control. We close with speculations about the future of social movements in China and the role of its young generation. Today’s young generation is mostly politically quiescent, taking advantage of unprecedented prosperity and opportunities, but it is also potentially “triggered” by examples of numerous protests and potentially empowered by social media.

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