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China and the UN Human Rights Regime

活动系列: China and Global Governance

Showing the China and the UN Human Rights Regime Video

China is consistently elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where it is currently serving its sixth three-year term. Although China engages at the UNHRC and has ratified and signed a number of international human rights treaties and agreements, the country’s human rights record is far from unblemished. Be it constraining the participation of individuals in international human rights procedures; detaining and persecuting human rights defenders on issues related to Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, and others; or shielding itself from international criticism; the People’s Republic of China has grown more assertive in international fora. Notably at the UNHRC, China is increasingly vocal in defending its statist position and interpretation of human rights norms. This panel brought together experts to unpack China’s evolution in UN human rights bodies and procedures, Beijing’s vision of human rights governance, and the tools that it employs to navigate and shape the international human rights regime.

This event was sponsored by the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues.


Raphaël Viana David is the program manager for China and Latin America at the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). He leads ISHR’s work to support Chinese, Uyghur, Tibetan, and Hong Kong human rights defenders at the United Nations. He holds a dual master’s degree in human rights and international relations from Sciences Po Paris and Peking University, with prior experience in providing legal assistance to asylum seekers in France. 

Chiahao Hsu is an assistant professor at Si-wan College at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taipei and the deputy director of the Taiwan Education Center in the Philippines (which is overseen by the Republic of China’s Ministry of Education). Hsu received his Ph.D. from National Sun Yat-Sen University. His research interests include conceptions of human rights, Asia-Pacific geopolitics, and broader international relations theory.

Sophie Richardson served as the China director at Human Rights Watch. She oversaw the organization’s research and advocacy on China from 2006 to 2023 and has published extensively on human rights and political reform in the country and across Southeast Asia. She is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. She speaks Mandarin and received her doctorate from the University of Virginia and her B.A. from Oberlin College.

Evan Medeiros (moderator) is the Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies at the School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow with the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University. Medeiros has in-depth experience in U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific from his time on the National Security Council as director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia, and then as special assistant to the president and senior director for Asia under President Barack Obama.