Past Event

'How China Shapes its Reviews in UN Human Rights Regime' with CWP fellow Lucie Lu

December 11, 2023
4:30 PM - 6:06 PM
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School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027

Research to date has shown that the international human rights regime is politicized. Despite claiming to uphold the normative standard, states tend to review their allies’ human rights records less harshly than those of their adversaries. I argue that the politicized human rights regime is a product of the major powers exploiting the review system. How can a major power like China improve its standing in the international human rights regime without improving its domestic compliance record? I demonstrate that China, a major power with little intention to comply with liberal-based norms, can use economic rewards to influence reviews of its human rights record, thus bypassing the human rights norms underlying the international monitoring system. By leveraging the time lags between sessions of the UN Universal Periodic Review, a recurring human rights monitoring institution, I show that China uses economic rewards to stimulate lenient reviews of its own record. After receiving development projects and debt relief, countries tend to be more lenient in their reviews of China’s human rights record. In contrast with the conventional wisdom that the authoritarian power’s hands are tied in a liberal norm-based regime, the Global South is more receptive to China’s voices in the human rights regime than expected.

Lucie Lu (陆璐) studies international relations with a regional focus on China. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2023. Her research delves into China’s global influences in three international regimes: media, human rights and foreign aid. Her ongoing research endeavors explore each of these topics individually as well as their intersections. Her dissertation studies how power shifts have happened in unexpected areas where China possesses an obvious disadvantage because of its authoritarian regime characteristic and how it manages to earn status in social media, human rights and foreign aid regimes. Her research has received support from the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research as a Schroeder Summer Graduate Fellow, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois, EITM Summer Institute (2022), and the APSA Political Communication Section.

This event is a hybrid with both in-person attendees and an online audience. It is sponsored by the China and the World Program and co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. To register for the online event please register here or If you are attending in-person, please go to 'INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS BUILDING AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY - 420 W. 118TH ST., NEW YORK, NY 10027 ROOM 918' 

Lucie Lu