Potter publishes op-ed in The Guardian on increasing threat of terrorism in China

May 8, 2014

In the wake of three terrorist attacks by Uighur militants in China in the past two months, Assistant Professor Phil Potter authored an op-ed in The Guardian arguing that although the attackers may "have only carried knives and crude bombs…they and their kind have the potential to reshape both Chinese and international politics."

"Despite their reliance on relatively unsophisticated weapons, Uighur militants seem to have already mastered some of the most challenging problems that extremist organisations face," says Potter. "The ability to conduct complex, co-ordinated attacks like those in Urumqi and Kunming are hallmarks of organisational strength. Moreover, while it might seem counterintuitive, restraint is also a clear indicator of capability. Weak movements lash out without discipline and coordination, while strong ones wait for opportune moments and symbolically valuable targets. Last week's attack in Urumqi certainly fits the latter description."

Read the full op-ed, "Terrorism in China: The global dimension," on The Guardian's website.

Phil Potter is an assistant professor at the Ford School and in the Department of Political Science, and a faculty affiliate of the Ford School's International Policy Center. He is also a principal investigator for a Department of Defense Minerva Initiative project to map and analyze collaborative relationships between terrorist organizations.