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Human rights, China and the UN: UPR Mid-term Assessment

When: Monday, December 7, 2020, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Where: Online

 EUPLANT logo sat above the Erasmus+ logo which states 'with the generous support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union


The People’s Republic of China underwent its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva on 6 November 2018. Two years after the UPR and at a time of growing concern about crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the destruction of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s rule of law based system, and continued systematic human rights violations, including the denial of access to justice throughout China’s mainland, Civil Society Organisations have criticised China’s performance as ‘disqualifying’ (CHRD) and expressed deep concern about China's growing influence at the UN (Sophie Richardson, HRW). This panel discussion brings experts from academia and civil society together for a discussion of China’s growing role and influence in the United Nations Human Rights System as well as an assessment of recent developments in XUAR and Hong Kong in relation to recommendations put forward during China’s third UPR.

Speaker bios

Dr Matthieu Burnay

Matthieu Burnay (Chair) is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. He has an interdisciplinary background in law, political science and history. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Leuven and a Double MSc degree in International Affairs from Peking University and the London School of Economics. His main research interests are in global law and governance; the study of the political and legal aspects of EU-China relations in global governance; as well as the comparative study of the rule of law in Europe and Asia. He is particularly interested in the relationship between international law and Chinese law in the areas of international security and trade governance. His monograph ‘Chinese Perspectives on the International Rule of Law: Law and Politics in the One-Party State’ was published by Edward Elgar in 2018. In 2018, he was awarded a Jean Monnet Network on EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation (EUPLANT).

Frances Eve

Frances Eve is the deputy director of research at the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a non-governmental organization of domestic and overseas Chinese human rights activists and groups headquartered in Washington DC.

Professor Eva Pils

Eva Pils is Professor of Law at King's College London and an affiliated scholar at the US-Asia Law Institute of New York University Law School. 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 and dimensions of legal and political resistance at domestic and global levels, and she is working on a book on the rule of law and its opponents in the People’s Republic of China (forthcoming with Hart). Her most recent book, Human rights in China: a social practice in the shadows of authoritarianism, was published in 2018. 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. She has held visiting appointments at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and at Columbia University (New York).

Dr Sophie Richardson

Sophie Richardson is the China director at Human Rights Watch. A graduate of the University of Virginia, the Hopkins-Nanjing Program, and Oberlin College, Dr Richardson is the author of numerous articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization, and human rights in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam. She has testified before the European Parliament and the US Senate and House of Representatives. She has provided commentary to the BBC, CNN, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Foreign Policy, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Dr Richardson is the author of China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Columbia University Press, Dec. 2009), an in-depth examination of China's foreign policy since 1954's Geneva Conference, including rare interviews with policy makers.

**Please note this is an online event and that all registrants will be sent joining instructions the day before

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