Most studies and research on crisis management and government crises focus on nations that are advanced and democratic. Through the institutionalized mechanism of voting, the public can respond to a government's handling of a crisis without destabilizing the democratic system of government. However, the consequences of crises, particularly governance crises, in authoritarian regimes have not been adequately addressed. Drawing upon different frameworks in the field, this paper proposes a heuristic crisis development ladder and a state–society interactive framework more relevant for studying crisis management in authoritarian nations such as China. By focusing on the catalytic effect of crisis that accelerates reforms and changes, this paper argues that critical crises are politically powerful and decisive in authoritarian systems, especially in the context of an increasingly proactive civil society. This paper illustrates the crisis provoking politics that influences decision-making under non-democratic rule.