Transnational repression: Debates and challenges for research

13:00 to 15:00

A global trend that has drawn increasing attention among scholars, governments and human rights organisations in recent years is the ability of autocratic regimes to extend their control and suppress criticism and dissent beyond their national borders.

Transnational repression can take different forms, such as surveillance, disinformation campaigns, online harassment, and threats to activists, diaspora groups, students and their families at home, and in some cases includes more violent acts, such as kidnappings and killings.  

Scholars coming from the field of political science, international relations and law have analysed this phenomenon using different definitions, theories and methodological approaches, including fieldwork and interview-based methods, surveys, and cross-national event case data. They have studied the reasons behind these repressive tactics, those targeted, and their forms of resistance. Increasingly, advocates and policymakers have also tried to come up with options to respond to and counteract transnational repression. Welcome though such attempts are in principle, they can also present new risks and produce unintended consequences, such as the stigmatisation of citizens from autocratic countries and/or chilling effects on vitally important debates. It is all the more important that we consider what is normatively at stake in transnational repression contexts. 

In her talk on how (not) to counter transnational repression, Professor Eva Pils of King’s College London will provide a critical evaluation of the debate about transnational repression as well as proposed responses. Drawing on examples of the People’s Republic of China’s and other countries’ transnational repression activities, she will argue that responses should be centred in the state’s obligation to respect and protect human rights. 

Discussant Professor Bo Petersson, Malmö University.

Read more about the event here.

Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies
Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Sölvegatan 18 B, Lund

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