THE OVERSEAS CHINESE DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT: Assessing China's Only Open Political Opposition.

AuthorTo, James

THE OVERSEAS CHINESE DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT: Assessing China's Only Open Political Opposition

Author: Chen Jie

Published by: Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, 2019, 240pp, 80 [pounds sterling].

Currently based at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Associate Professor Chen Jie has spent much of his academic career researching the overseas Chinese democracy movement--himself a student in Beijing just prior to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Over the years since, Chen has built up a close network of fellow intellectuals as well as activists who led that movement--their stories and contributions to the movement colourfully manifesting themselves in intricate detail to inform his latest book.

The Overseas Chinese Democracy Movement: Assessing China's Only Open Political Opposition delves into the ebbs and flows of the movement--reflecting and coinciding with geopolitical trends and interests over the years--both domestically in the People's Republic of China and across the strait in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and with other governments around the world. Chen meticulously chronicles the origins of the movement: from the early vanguard of 'Tiananmen green card holders' to the eventual proliferation of dozens of other groups (some of which survive into the contemporary period), and then predicts what will happen next. The book examines the actors from both an internal and external perspective, assesses their triumphs and failures under different operating environments before ending with a thorough comparison and analysis together with other examples of exile politics.

The first impression from reading Chen's work is the extremely high level of data that has been extracted and woven together from a broad array of illuminating sources --mostly first-hand from personal interviews and communications, primary source Chinese-language documents and, of course, relevant publications pioneered by other experts in the field.

Hence the timing of Chen's book could not be better placed--diaspora politics and engagement has been a hot topic over the past three or four years. Terms such as 'foreign influence' and 'interference' --which were mostly unheard of previously outside national security and intelligence policy circles--have now been normalised into everyday conversation both in media and the public narrative. 'United Front work' has found itself increasingly common in discussions about Chinese foreign policy. Readers will be...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT