The Chinese Communist Party and the Diaspora– Beijing’s extraterritorial authoritarian rule


  • Oscar Almén

Publish date: 2020-04-02

Report number: FOI-R--4933--SE

Pages: 65

Written in: English


  • China
  • diaspora
  • extraterritorial activities
  • citizenship
  • nation
  • authoritarianism


This report examines the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) policy towards the Chinese diaspora and its security consequences. Because China does not accept dual nationality, most of the Chinese diaspora are foreign nationals. However, the Chinese leadership continuously uses ethnic and racial references such as bloodline and heritage when discussing the Chinese people. According to this view, all foreign nationals with Chinese heritage can potentially be included in the Chinese nation. While the combination of ethnic nationalism and an authoritarian system is not unique to China, China's global influence, the size of the Chinese diaspora, and the large organisation actively involved in influencing overseas Chinese make China stand out in comparison to other states. One reason why the Chinese government engages in extraterritorial activities is to extend its rule to the Chinese diaspora. Those members of the diaspora who the Party considers loyal are sometimes used as brokers to influence politics in the host country in favour of China's national interests. Opponents to the Party, in contrast, risk being threatened or even abducted. The security consequences span from CCP influence in the domestic politics of foreign states to security threats against individual members of the diaspora.