All authoritarian governments fear dissent because it threatens their grip on power. At home and, increasingly, beyond their borders, many autocrats have found ways to intimidate, harass, and harm those who criticize them or speak out for basic freedoms. But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is unique in the scale and ambition of its efforts, attempting to exert control over all overseas Chinese citizens and members of diaspora communities – a fact that was recently recognized by a Canadian court.
According to Freedom House’s research, the authoritarian regime in China conducts the world’s most sophisticated, comprehensive, and far-reaching campaign of transnational repression. It is responsible for 229 of the 735 incidents of physical transnational repression recorded between 2014 and 2021, targeting people on every inhabited continent and in at least 36 countries.