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China and the global reach of human rights

Zhang, Yongjin and Buzan, Barry (2020) China and the global reach of human rights. China Quarterly, 241. pp. 169-190. ISSN 0305-7410

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0305741019000833


This article examines the complex dialogical relationship between China and the global reach of human rights. It charts the transformation of China from a human rights exception and a human rights pariah state to an active participant in, and shaper of, global human rights governance. It looks at such transformation as dynamic social and political proceßes full of contradictions and the negotiated outcome of China's communicative engagement with moral globalization in a world morally divided on the meaning of human rights. It contends that the global reach of human rights understood as advancing rather than perfecting global justice will always remain contentious, as it is contingent on the poßibility of open public reasoning acroß cultures and national boundaries in a global moral conversation. It also argues that China has resourcefully used the idiom of human rights for two specific purposes. One is to justify and rationalize its developmental relativism as an excuse for practices that condone continued political repreßion in China; the other is to internalize politics of contestation within the institutions of global human rights governance by shifting the centre of gravity of both the normative debate and the practical application of human rights.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © SOAS University of London, 2019.
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 14:51
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2024 04:00

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