Shot of protest in Hong Kong, showing backs of protesters in white shirts
Article/journal, East Asia, Global governance, Human rights & justice, Asian Institute, Munk School

Xi Jinping-Style Control and Civil Society Responses

On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, grassroots civil society is in trouble.   Democracy advocates in Hong Kong are being handcuffed while rights activists in the Mainland are pre-emptively smothered.  Xi Jinping-style control over civil society entails a three-pronged strategy to transform civil society into a more palatable sector.  The first prong of this strategy is tightening regulation of both domestic and international civil society. The second is to crack down on grassroots organizations.  The third is to deepen party control over all of civil society. As a result, while some rights advocacy organizations have disappeared altogether under this rule, others have learned to adapt.   A new strategy for engaging civil society actors in both mainland China and Hong Kong is needed.  In pivoting from Trump’s isolationism to Biden’s multilateralism, it will also be important for the U.S. to work with its allies to help build the infrastructure for people-to-people exchanges with China.