Bend, Don’t Break: China’s Approach to the International Human Rights Order 

By Jackson Neagli

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I argue that Beijing is seeking to alter, but not undermine or replace, the international human rights order. Generally speaking, I agree with Andrew J. Nathan that “the liberal international order is resilient and that China prefers to join it rather than to overturn it.”19 It follows that, with respect to human rights in particular, Beijing “does not appear to be aiming either for major changes in the regime or for its abandonment,” but instead “appears to be content to work within the existing human rights institutions to shape them to its own interests.” Put otherwise, Beijing is seeking to bend, not break, the current human rights order.

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Jackson Neagli