The rise of security state and parents of missing children in China

Image of people holding up posters with images of missing children

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 18 July 2017


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Jianhua Xu


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Using data collected from online ethnography, participant observation of parents’ self-help activities to look for missing children, as well as over fifty in-depth interviews with parents, activists and law enforcement agencies, this research aims to explore the interaction between Chinese security state and the parents of missing children in China.

It is found that parents of missing children generally hold a low trust towards the state in general and the police in particular. The inactive police force, police corruption and stability preservation (weiwen) regime further reduce the limited trust towards the police.

Although parents have resorted to various self-help strategies to look for their missing children, and have actively worked as claims-makers in constructing the problem of missing children, these strategies are heavily constrained in the backdrop of the rise of security state in China.

About the Speaker

Jianhua Xu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Macau. He is also an honorary fellow in the Center for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong, and an external member of the Pearl River Delta Research Center, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

His research interests include sociology of crime and deviance, crime and victimization related to rural-to-urban migrant workers in China, policing, victimology, and urban sociology. His recent publications have appeared in The British Journal of Criminology, Theoretical Criminology, and Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, among others.

Jianhua is currently working on several projects including the problem of missing children in China, the violence between urban management staff (chengguan) and street vendors in China, and crime and policing banners/posters in China.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet