APOSS 100 - Lucie Lu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 18, 2023 11:00AM-12:00PM EDT
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Coauthors and affiliations
China, International Cooperation, Human rights, Economic Sanction
Conventional wisdom holds that the international human rights regime is politicized: despite claiming to uphold the normative standard, states review their allies’ human rights records less harshly than their adversaries’. What strategic move might a major power take after receiving a harsh peer review in the international human rights regime? I demonstrate that China, a major power with little intent to comply with liberal-based norms, can use punishments to influence reviews of its human rights record. Punishments seek to bypass the human rights norms underlying the international monitoring system. Leveraging the time lag between sessions of the UN Universal Periodic Review, a recurring human rights monitoring institution, I show that China uses economic sanctions and reciprocal reviews to deter harsh reviewers. Under such undue pressure, countries economically dependent on China may give lenient reviews in return. In contrast with the conventional wisdom that socialization leads to states’ benign compliance, I specify how a major power can influence other states to resist and bypass norms in a liberal-based international institution.
Be My Friendly Reviewers: How China Shapes the Human Rights Regime