Facilitating Activism in a Strong Authoritarian State

  • Ray Wang
Part of the Human Rights Interventions book series (HURIIN)


This chapter reviews two prominent paradigms in the literature and develops my alternative form of transnational activism, the theory of the “internal spiral,” and explores the rationality and behavioral patterns behind opportunists, advocates, and protestors who struggle with each other on this internal spiraling process. More practically speaking, internationalism brings unnecessary tension, interference, and suspicion that may be fatal for a weakly supported transnational religious movement. Instead, carefully crafted intergroup strategies play a more important role than external strategies such as international shaming or spiral campaigns promoted by conventional wisdom. Using a relational lens on the key actors involved, I emphasize an overlooked dimension in the prominent theories of transnational activism: opportunists can act as both spoilers and advocates for their foreign sponsors, especially when protestors cannot be deterred and officials’ threats become “cheap talk” in reality.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of East Asian StudiesNational Chengchi UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan

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