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The Overseas Chinese Democracy Movement

Assessing China’s Only Open Political Opposition

Jie Chen

The overseas Chinese democracy movement (OCDM) is one of the world’s longest-running and most difficult exile political campaigns. This unique book is a rare and comprehensive account of its trajectory since its beginnings in the early 1980s, examining its shifting operational environment and the diversification of its activities, as well as characterizing its distinctive features in comparison to other exile movements.
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Chapter 3: Struggle under the new normal circumstances

Jie Chen


Over the past decade or so, increasing numbers of activists in exile have sought to ascertain what niche roles they can realistically and effectively play. In particular, diverse and society-oriented activities of leaner meaner organizations and more professional activists overseas are reshaping and recharging the overseas democracy movement. Chapter 3 examines the overseas activists’ attempts to assist socio-political campaigns back home, influence domestic and international public opinions of China, establish new organizations to engage in a diverse range of niche activities, and capitalize on Taiwan’s developing civil society. This assessment of the movement goes beyond iconic exiles and their widely publicized incidents of infighting, by taking into account those unknown activists and their usually little-noticed deeds in contributing to the cause. The chapter ends by using ideas in the study of exile politics and transnational social movements to suggest a balanced way to discuss the Chinese dissidents’ activities and impacts.

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