10/03/16 Colloquium Series - Yan Long: “Domesticating a Dragon: The Contradictory Impact of Transnational AIDS Institutions on State Repression in China, 1989–2013”
From David Price
Existing research suggests that external interventions may reduce the aggregate levels of repression in authoritarian regimes by pressuring recalcitrant national governments to comply with transnational rules. This article argues that transnational institutions may not only have corrective but also generative impact on authoritarian repression by shaping the cultural rules and organizational models that fashion the forms of repression in specific governance domains. The argument is grounded in an analysis of the transformation of repression against AIDS activism in China from 1989 to 2013. While the intervention of transnational AIDS institutions constrained the operation of traditional violent coercion, it mobilized and enabled Chinese government organizations to generate new repressive actors with innovative repertoires of covert and indirect strategies at both the transnational and domestic levels. Thus, external interventions must be considered as a multiple dimensional process, and its outcome is produced through interactions between transnational institutions and domestic organizations engaging in repressive acts.