Susie Jolly’s chapter is a nuanced account of how Chinese activists have drawn on the possibilities afforded by international forces, agendas and discourses, to broaden openings available in the flux and ambivalence of processes nearer to home. Jolly highlights the great overlap among donors, government and activists, showing that the boundaries between these institutional spaces are in fact porous, rather than partitioned from one another.
Institutional positioning, however, is a significant force in shaping the views of activists, government figures and donors. Considerable movement across institutional spaces makes it possible to produce overlap as well as dynamism in agendas and discourses in activism around gender and sexuality. The implications for women’s empowerment are less clear, however. In post-economic reform China, the pursuit of individual desires for the expression of sexuality appears to be more legitimate than challenging structural barriers which limit how and with whom one may express those desires.