The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is one of the biggest threats to democracy on the world stage. As the challenges to civil society and marginalized groups grow each year, IRI is supporting local, regional, and global leaders to help overcome barriers and adapt strategies to ensure their voices are heard in a rapidly changing China.

Students Waving Chinese Flag

IRI has worked to promote and preserve the role of Chinese citizens in defending universal human rights and determining their own future for over 25 years. From the very beginning, the core of this work has been building strong partnerships with some of China’s most dedicated champions for social equality and public participation in civic life.  IRI programs empower civil society and grassroots community efforts to represent their own interests and promote positive change.

Reflecting IRI’s commitment to locally driven programming, these partners are members of the communities they represent and have a strong sense of mission grounded in their daily experience; through workshops and mentorship programs, IRI helps these leaders develop organizational strategies and set achievable goals to advance their causes.

IRI partners have used traditional and new media, data-driven research, grassroots advocacy campaigns, and effective engagement with community leaders to influence public policy and increase social acceptance for marginalized groups. These skills are increasingly important as partners face growing pressures on their work, especially those representing the most vulnerable groups.

IRI’s programs emphasize engagement with communities that are routinely sidelined or discriminated against in public discourse – especially youth, women, and LGBTQI+ people. –  Incorporating lessons learned from IRI’s work with marginalized groups around the world, these programs help develop strategies specifically tailored for each community’s needs and the unique difficulties they face in building social acceptance. IRI varies its approach depending on where groups are based – inside or outside the PRC – and engages with global diaspora to support their efforts to advocate for their communities.

Recent changes in the role of new technologies in civic life have meant that civil society organizations in China today need to actively consider the impact of technology on their work. IRI works with its partners to effectively leverage new platforms, including social media, and to build an understanding of technological change to more effectively engage with the public and expand the role of civil society in China’s civic life.

Chinese civil society are navigating increasing pressures as they strive to create a more open and equitable society. IRI’s support for those efforts plays a critical role in ensuring that work continues and grows in the future.

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Regional Director, East Asia and the Pacific
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