The EU's Human Rights Dialogue with China: Quiet Diplomacy and its Limits (Routledge Research in Human Rights) 1st Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0415698467
ISBN-10: 0415698464
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Editorial Reviews


This is not just the best study of Western human rights policy toward China and of informal human rights dialogue in print; it is also one of the best microanalyses of a sensitive contemporary policy issue that I have ever read.

-- Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics and Director, European Union Program at Princeton University. Foreign Affairs

Dr Kinzelbach has performed a valuable service to all those interested in human rights diplomacy. Not only does she provide vital, new, information on the form and content of the EU-China human rights dialogues, but she also reaches sobering and well-substantiated conclusions that confirm that these dialogues do not fulfil their ostensible purpose of improving China's human rights record. She also suggests it is time to seek alternative approaches in this important policy sphere. This book represents a major contribution to our understanding of EU-China relations and of how human rights diplomacy is conducted in the contemporary era.

-- Rosemary Foot, MA, PhD, FBA, Professor of International Relations, and Sir John Swire Senior Research Fellow, St Antony's College, Oxford

Human Rights has been one of the most contentious and vexed issues in the relationship between the EU and China, marked by deep differences and the lack of an agreed common framework. In this book, Katrin Kinzelbach gives a meticulous critique of the ups and downs of the various dialogue rounds in this area between the two. She outlines the history of the talks, the drivers behind them, and their few successes and many failures. But she also looks deeper into the reasons behind why the dialogue has proved so difficult, and what this shows about both parties. Dr Kinzelbach is to be congratulated on producing such a clear, succinct and balanced treatment of an area which is dominated by much contention and misunderstanding. This stands as the definitive study of this hugely important subject.

-- Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of China Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Chinese diplomats have skilfully channeled much of the West’s effort to influence their country’s human rights record into formal government to government dialogues, whose proceedings are confidential. Kinzelbach has dug up information that reveals what happens behind the screen of EU foreign policy making on this important issue. She shows with admirable clarity how Chinese officials have taken advantage of European political divisions and organizational confusion to gain the upper hand over the scheduling, agendas, procedural rules, and rhetorical atmosphere of these meetings. In fascinating detail she portrays the frustration this has produced among European diplomats. Although the dialogues have been less and less productive for real human rights advances, both sides persist in holding them. For the EU they serve as a fig leaf for the lack of more effective policies. A model of objectivity and clarity, the study promotes a sophisticated understanding of UN, EU, and Chinese diplomatic goals and methods. It bears important lessons for all who seek to influence a rising China.

-- Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

This brilliant study of Katrin Kinzelbach is the most thorough and well-informed analysis of almost 20 years of the EU's human rights dialogue with China. The book provides a rare and detailed insight into how the European Union conducts quiet human rights diplomacy. Her conclusions are devastating for the EU's approach towards China: The dialogue is found to be ineffective and even counter-productive. It yielded no meaningful results and should, therefore, either be discontinued or linked to specific political and economic conditions.

-- Manfred Nowak is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Vienna University and presently Austrian Chair Visiting Professor at Stanford University.

This meticulously researched book examines the European Union's human rights dialogue with China between 1995 and 2010. Those who seek a short answer to the question of whether the EU's efforts have paid off could read the author's last few words in her conclusion chapter, which characterize the dialogue as "impotent." For those who have studied China's human rights diplomacy, the book confirms what they already know or suspect about the nature and effect of the discreet European doplomatic engagement with Bejing in the human rights area.

-- Ming Wan is Professor of Government and Politics and Director of the Political Science division at the School of Policy, Goverment and International Affairs at George Mason University, located in Fairfax, Virginia.

About the Author

Katrin Kinzelbach is associate director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and visiting professor at the School of Public Policy, Central European University in Budapest.

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