13 Sep 2023

Transnational Repression - Pilot reporting guide

Safeguard Defenders is today releasing its pilot reporting guide for targets of Chinese transnational repression. The pilot guide – a precursor to an extensive interactive reporting toolkit – provides victims with reporting lines as provided by the authorities in listed countries.

The guide is currently available in five editions;

While the threat of Chinese transnational repression across society has gained considerably more attention over the past months, much more needs to be done to bolster resilience both within targeted communities and within democratic institutions.



Combatting transnational repression requires trust and effective cooperation between targeted communities and democratic institutions.

For victims: Your reporting serves not only to protect yourself but also others from becoming potential targets of future acts. Reporting acts of transnational repression is an essential step in building the democratic capacity to identify new threats and actors, and develop the necessary tools to combat such acts.

Reporting lines in listed countries can be reached for all acts occurring on that territory, including when you are not a resident in that country, but for example traveling there.

We warmly welcome all feedback to the pilot guide from members of targeted communities.

For democratic authorities: So far, as the guide shows, very few countries have set up such dedicated channels: Australia and the United States of America (with some initial steps taken in Canada).

Setting up dedicated reporting channels and training dedicated law enforcement personnel to recognize instances of transnational repression is a first crucial step in identifying threats, threat actors and (emerging) patterns.

They demonstrate a democratic Government’s willingness to take the threats and its victims seriously, and thereby contribute to building up much-needed trust within targeted communities. We invite other democratic nations to urgently consider following the best-practice multi-lingual examples from Australia and the United States.

This pilot guide lists responses on general reporting lines as received from included countries. We invite other countries to provide relevant information for further updates.



Transnational Repression is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon whereby states reach across borders to harm, intimidate, and silence journalists, activists, dissidents, and diaspora communities. More broadly, it can be described as any attempt to silence or adversely influence independent democratic discourse on authoritarian actors.

Transnational repression may take the following forms:

  • Stalking and unwanted physical or electronic surveillance
  • Harassment
  • Hacking
  • Physical assaults
  • Attempted kidnapping
  • Forcing or coercing the victim to return to the home country
  • Threatening or detaining family members in the home country
  • Freezing financial assets
  • Online disinformation campaigns to discredit an individual or group
  • Surveillance of protest activity or threats to political activists

These acts all aim to severely undermine the target’s free enjoyment of their freedom of speech, freedom of movement and/or freedom of assembly and association.