Shaping the liberal international order from the inside: A natural experiment on China’s influence in the UN human rights council

Autores: Pauselli, G., Urdínez, F., & Merke, F. (2023)

Scholars have long discussed whether the rise of China poses a threat to the Liberal International Order. However, there are methodological challenges to studying the effect of a rising power on established norms. In particular, the participation of rising powers in the established order is not exogenously determined. To make an empirical contribution to this debate, we focus on Beijing’s influence as a member of the Human Rights Council. We exploit the fact that China’s membership in the Council is determined by an exogenous membership rule and implement a matching technique to test whether China has influenced the voting patterns of the other member states on identical recurring resolutions. We find that China’s presence in the Council systematically alters the voting behavior of other states in favor of China’s interest, and that this change is larger when it comes to the enforcement of human rights through international criticism. To delve into the mechanisms underlying these findings, we conduct in-depth interviews with experienced diplomats at the UN Human Rights Council.


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