The International Dimension of Democratization: Comparing Transnational Civil Society and Social Linkages in Taiwan and China

Su-Mei Ooi, Butler University

This is an electronic copy of a Conference Paper presented at the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Archived with permission. The author(s) reserves all rights.


There has been considerable interest since the end of the Cold War, in the international dimensions of democratization. Of particular interest in this paper are transnational civil society and social linkages, which have been found in Taiwan to have contributed to the growth and development of an effective democracy movement in the pre-transition phase during the 1970s, culminating in the democratic breakthrough of 1986. Are there equivalent transnational civil society linkages in China today? In the post-Cold War globalized environment, should such linkages be denser despite concerted efforts to curb them? If so, are these transnational civil society linkages helping to generate external pressure that will raise the cost of authoritarianism? And is this likely to have any impact on the prospects of democratization in China? This paper will attempt to answer some of these questions that serve to highlight the conference theme of “dynamic and rapid changes in this region.”