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In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. The term is usually used as a synonym for traitor, in documents that support the act of defection/treason (see below).

This act is usually in a manner which violates the laws of the nation or political entity from which the person is seeking to depart, as opposed to a change of citizenship, which does not typically defy the law of any nation.

During the Cold War, the many people escaping from the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc to the West were called defectors. Westerners defected to the Eastern Bloc as well: some of the more famous cases were British spy Kim Philby, who defected to Russia to avoid exposure as a KGB mole, and 22 Allied POWs (one Briton and twenty-one Americans) who declined repatration after the Korean War, electing to remain in China. Another defector, Lee Harvey Oswald, would become infamous for a different reason after changing his mind and coming back to the United States.

The term has been widely used by the media in the United States to denote immigrants from Fidel Castro's Cuba; however, some conservatives object to this characterization, pointing out that the American press never referred to those who left Germany during the Third Reich era as "defectors."[citation needed]

In some cases, defectors remain in the country or with the political entity they are against, functioning as an agent or a double agent.

[edit] Political party defection

The term defection is also used to refer to the departure of a member from a political party to join another political party, typically because of discontent in his existing party. Depending on position of the person, it may be given a different name, such as party switching or crossing the floor. One famous political "defector" was Winston Churchill, who first entered Parliament as a Conservative in 1901, defected to the Liberals in 1904, and defected back to the Conservatives in 1925.

[edit] See also

ja:亡命 zh:投诚


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