Contesting human rights norms in a declining liberal order: China at the Human Rights Council (2017-2022)
|Authors:||Machado, Diogo||Supervisor:||Ten Brink, Tobias||Abstract:||
There seems to be a scholarly consensus around the idea that, in the last decade, China has been actively promoting its own conception of human rights in an attempt to shape global human rights norms. The extent to which China’s views challenge current norms is still unclear, but some suggest they are ultimately aimed at weakening the human rights regime’s ability to hold states accountable for their human rights violations. However, this literature is still scarce and insufficient – most works only rely on a few pieces of adhoc primary empirical evidence or merely analyse existing secondary literature. We still lack a systematic representation of China’s discursive contestation of human rights norms in recent years. This thesis seeks to fill this gap in the literature, asking to what extent China is contesting human rights norms at the Human Rights Council, and more specifically about the main contesting arguments and the main degrees of contestation that China puts forward. My analysis departed from constructivist theories of norm contestation that highlight the different degrees it can take, being able to question the very legitimacy of the norm (validity contestation) or the way it should be implemented (applicatory contestation). Considering this, I conducted a Qualitative Content Analysis of all the available Chinese sponsored and co-sponsored statements and resolutions at the Human Rights Council’s sessions between 2017 and 2022, amounting to a total of 279 documents. The most fiercely contested human rights norms were the monitoring of individual countries’ human rights situations, opposing the legitimacy of this practice in general, but also the specific wrongdoings in its execution, and the idea of universality, contending instead that states have full authority to implement human rights as they wish. The results also show that China made equivalent use of both types of contestation (validity and applicatory), marking a rupture with earlier Chinese discourse, which largely refrained from questioning the legitimacy of human rights norms. This thesis contributes to the literature by constructing a much-needed systematic, comprehensive and empirically grounded description of China’s counter-discourse on human rights norms, which in turn shows that China is posing a very serious challenge to such norms today.
|Keywords:||China; human rights; Human Rights Council; norms; norm contestation; United Nations||Issue Date:||9-Aug-2023||Type:||Masterarbeit||DOI:||10.26092/elib/2633||URN:||urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-elib73992||Institution:||Universität Bremen||Faculty:||Fachbereich 08: Sozialwissenschaften (FB 08)|
|Appears in Collections:||Abschlussarbeiten|
checked on Dec 10, 2023
checked on Dec 10, 2023
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