Working paper
From hard to soft power, and return? The European union, China and Human rights
Governance and Globalization Sciences Po in China
BALME Richard - (Auteur)
Governance and Globalization Sciences Po in China : 4
The European Union and its member states largely refer to human rights as the foundation of the core values orienting domestic and external policies of the EU. Human rights violations in third countries are therefore seen as a key element of diplomatic and strategic engagement of the EU in world affairs, rising high expectations towards her influence. Analyzing relations with China since 1989 nevertheless raise doubts on the effectiveness of both hard and soft European power to directly transform the human rights situation in that case. With the growing importance of China as a global player, these relations have gradually evolved from unilateral pressure to the accepted coexistence of two adjacent normative systems, allowing for non confrontational dialogue and gradual change, but at the cost of accepting a slow pace of transformation of human rights situation in China. This situation involves a tension between the practice of European Union diplomacy and its proclaimed values, as well as between the reality of human rights promotion in China and its understanding by European public opinion. This chapter explores the contours and implications of this situation.