Time: 15 June, 14:15-15:45 Helsinki time (12:15-13:45 London time)
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The People’s Republic of China’s (‘China’) leadership has long expressed itself committed to the idea of independent, sovereign nation-states and the principle of non-interference, but its current leader, Xi Jinping, has also stated that ‘as the global governance system is going through a critical period of adjustment and change, we must actively participate in the formulation of international rules and become participants, promoters and leaders in the process of global governance changes,’ leaving the desired direction of such changes open and giving rise to lively debates about China’s growing international influence across different academic fields, as well as among policymakers, diplomats, and civil society actors. Some critical observers have argued that there is a possibility of the emergence of ‘authoritarian international law ,’ while others have associated China’s global rise with the exercise of ‘ sharp power – or indeed with global ‘disarray.’ This paper assesses the ways in which the party state uses coercive and discursive power in interacting with the international human rights law framework and its institutions. Engaging critically with the ‘authoritarian law’ and the ‘sharp power’ theses, it argues that explicitly critical and normatively grounded conceptions of law and power are required to understand and respond to the corrosive and corrupting effects of power exercise on UN-based international human rights law.
About the speaker
Eva Pils is Professor of Law at King’s College London, an affiliated scholar at the US-Asia Law Institute of New York University Law School, and an external member of the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg, as well as a current fellow at EURICS/IEAP. She studied law, philosophy and sinology in Heidelberg, London and Beijing and holds a PhD in law from University College London. Her current research addresses autocratic conceptions and practices of governance, legal and political resistance, and forms of complicity with autocratic wrongs. At King’s, she teaches courses on human rights; law and society in China; and authoritarianism, populism and the law. Before joining King’s in 2014, Eva was an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law.