China and the International Human Rights Regime: A Conversation with Dr. Rana Siu Inboden

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In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Rana Siu Inboden joins us to discuss China’s role and influence in the international human rights regime. Dr. Inboden begins by explaining how China’s views on human rights have evolved starting with Mao, through the Tiananmen Square massacre, and now under Xi Jinping. She argues that, while the West emphasizes civil and political rights, China focuses on and favors economic rights, especially the right to development. In addition, she adds that China believes human rights should be contingent based on a country’s national conditions. Dr. Inboden also describes how, in the 1990s, China joined other countries to form the Like-Minded Group, a group of authoritarian countries that believe human rights are particular to each country and has traditionally acted together to weaken the international human rights regime. Lastly, she breaks down how China has succeeded in diminishing the work of the UN Human Rights Council and suppressing its own activists from participating in the international human rights regime.

Dr. Rana Siu Inboden is a Senior Fellow with the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas-Austin. She serves as a consultant on human rights, democracy, and rule of law projects in Asia for a number of non-governmental organizations and conducts research related to international human rights, Chinese foreign policy, the effectiveness of international human rights and democracy projects and authoritarian collaboration in the United Nations. Her first book, China and the International Human Rights Regime (Cambridge, 2021) examines China’s role in the international human rights regime between 1982 and 2017.

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security