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Hal Brands

China’s Hunt for Dissidents Has Gone Global

Operations Fox Hunt and Skynet target Beijing’s critics wherever they may go.

Keeping an eye out.

Keeping an eye out.

Photographer: Roy Liu/Bloomberg 

For years, China has purported to be a new type of great power: one that rises peacefully and respects the rights of other states rather than chasing the foreign domination of empires past. “China will never seek hegemony, expansion or a sphere of influence,” President Xi Jinping said in April.

Yet many of Beijing’s policies have a distinctly imperial feel. A case in point is a wide-ranging effort to give Chinese law enforcement global reach, and thereby hound the regime’s enemies wherever they may go.