Sophie Richardson

China's Influence on the Global Human Rights System

Is the Chinese government’s greater engagement with international institutions a gain for the global human rights system? A close examination of its interactions with United Nations human rights mechanisms, pursuit of rights-free development, and threats to the freedom of expression worldwide suggests it is not. At the United Nations, Chinese authorities are trying to rewrite norms and manipulate existing procedures not only to minimize scrutiny of the Chinese government’s conduct, but also to achieve the same for all governments. Emerging norms on respecting human rights in development could have informed the Chinese government’s approach to the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and national development banks, but they have not. Chinese authorities now extend domestic censorship to communities around the work, ranging from academia to diaspora communities to global businesses.

The Brookings Institution

The University of Chicago