Journal article

An Analysis of China’s Statements on Human Rights at the UN

Kinzelbach_Analysis of China's Statements on Human Rights at the UN

Source: Maina Kiai /​Flickr

20 Apr 2017, 
published in 
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights

This article examines whether and how the People’s Republic of China challenges international human rights norms based on a qualitative analysis of human rights debates at the United Nations in the period 2000 – 2010. The study differentiates between framing and implication contests and is focused on China’s statements on four main issues: the validity of norms; the UN’s monitoring of human rights compliance; the relationship between sovereignty and human rights; and the interaction of civil and political with economic, social and cultural rights. China’s human rights diplomacy at the United Nations is shown to be highly consistent; it primarily contests implications of human rights rather than the norms themselves. Although China has so far not provided an alternative normative frame to human rights, it is argued that the contestation is nonetheless serious as it facilitates a gradual erosion of established norms and instruments.

The full article is available via the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights.