DISSIDENTS tells the story of three exiled Chinese dissidents taking their activism for democracy to the streets in the U.S. but are targeted by the Chinese government’s transnational repression campaign – foreign governments who reach across borders to silence dissent among diasporas and exiles.
In California, an artist’s sculpture is burnt to the ground. FBI’s investigation results in the indictment of three individuals conspiring as agents of China. In Washington, DC, a protestor lives in a tent outside the Chinese Embassy. She is arrested and charged with a criminal case for blocking Chinese Vice Premier’s motorcade during the U.S.-China trade talks. In New York, an activist organizes Chinese immigrants into a grassroots democracy movement. Some are violently attacked by pro-Beijing thugs during Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen’s visit in Manhattan.
The Chinese Communist Party conducts the world’s comprehensive campaign of transnational repression. It is a driving factor for the decline in freedom around the world and poses a serious threat to democracy. The long arm of authoritarianism across borders is not just a violation of human rights, it’s a national security issue. With unprecedented access, the film uncovers a timely and urgent story that is underreported, centers the voices of Chinese dissidents defending democracy in exile, and puts a human face on the struggle for democracy.