While China's economic reforms have produced undeniably positive outcomes, a rapid increase in popular protests has become most striking in recent years. As protests grow steadily in both scale and frequency, the government continues to tout social stability as the chief concern of China today. These mounting tensions reflect a direct clash of horns between the maintenance of stability and the public's desire to exercise their rights, frequently culminating in acts of repression by the Chinese state in order to quell the unrest. This raises an important question: how can the relationship between repression and popular protest in China be characterized? More specifically, which precise circumstances of popular protest elicit the employment of China's repressive state capacity? Taking into account both theoretical perspectives and empirical analysis, this paper attempts to elucidate the issue by first collating a large body of data to clarify the precise characteristics of popular protest, then undertaking quantitative analysis to identify which factors trigger the mobilization of China's machinery of repression. Furthermore, this study identifies that in recent years, the use of state repression has risen in parallel with an increasing emphasis on the principle of ＂maintaining social stability＂ in China.