China, the United Nations, and Human Rights: The Limits of Compliance

  • Citation: Kent, Ann. China, the United Nations, and human rights: The limits of compliance. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • East Asia
    • China
    • United Nations (UN)
    • torture
    • human rights
    • Vienna

Nelson Mandela once said, “Human rights have become the focal point of international relations.” This has certainly become true in American relations with the People’s Republic of China. Ann Kent’s book documents China’s compliance with the norms and rules of international treaties, and serves as a case study of the effectiveness of the international human rights regime, that network of international consensual agreements concerning acceptable treatment of individuals at the hands of nation-states. Since the early 1980s, and particularly since 1989, by means of vigorous monitoring and the strict maintenance of standards, United Nations human rights organizations have encouraged China to move away from its insistence on the principle of noninterference, to take part in resolutions critical of human rights conditions in other nations, and to accept the applicability to itself of human rights norms and UN procedures. Even though China has continued to suppress political dissidents at home, and appears at times resolutely defiant of outside pressure to reform, Ann Kent argues that it has gradually begun to implement some international human rights standards.

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