Monday, November 15, 2021

[FNF] How China Defines Human Rights

On September 9, 2021, the Information Office of China's State Council, basically the country's government cabinet, released a document titled: "Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)" , that is, an action plan on human rights in China. Despite the title, the paper received little international attention. Other issues dominated the headlines, such as the People's Republic's real estate and energy crisis and Beijing's military aggression against Taiwan. But it is worth paying attention to the action plan. After all, the leadership in Beijing is using it to try to counter the Western definition of human rights.

China has issued several such action plans since 2009. Now, however, the paper testifies to the expanded scope and increased self-confidence of a regime that wants to rise to become a technocratic autocracy with global influence.

The Chinese narrative on human rights in the action plans is rather defensive. The "livelihood security" of the people is placed above individual rights. Occasionally, the authors denounce Western failures such as racial discrimination and criminal cases. On the Chinese side, on the other hand, success in building "moderate prosperity" in society is celebrated as proof of the CP's human rights achievements.

The issue is overloaded: Everything is "human rights"

An examination of the six sections of “rights” in the action plan will reveal a lot about China’s motivation, justification and narrative. The first section on “economic, social and cultural rights” and the third section on “environmental rights” are essentially long lists of actions to guarantee the rights to basic livelihood, to work, and in health and education, as well as for a green and sustainable development. The long list is detailed and includes matters such as food and water supply to earthquake-safe housing, from workers retraining to coal mining safety, and of course environmental protection. It even sets a target to limit short-sightedness among students to under 65 percent, as a matter of human rights.

Like recapping a mini “state of the union,” the ruling regime predictably continues to place the economic development of the entire society ahead of the basic rights of individuals. To put this into perspective, if these measures can be claimed to constitute basic human rights protections, then the whole annual federal budget of any country might as well be lauded as “human rights achievements” by that government, which may not be entirely wrong, but night serve to diffuse the attention on real human rights problems.

Voters to be "mobilized"

The second section of the action plan, “civil and political rights,” most notably spelt out some of the proposed protections for individuals’ judicial, electoral, religious and other rights. For instance, a proposal to reduce custody periods before trials for the defendants contrasts greatly the current reality in post-National Security Law Hong Kong where large number of individuals were denied bail and held in custody for more than half a year or even longer than one year for some. Obviously the real situation is even worse in the Mainland of China. While there may be some attempts at judicial reforms to tackle this problem at the local level for non-political crimes, it is unlikely that there has been any re-awakening for self-restraint at the central government level for the plenty of those accused of charges of national security or political natures. After all, it goes without saying that any matters that the ruling regime considers to be national security in nature would be dealt with above any other laws or legal, including human rights, protections.

In this section, under electoral rights, China will also target to “mobilise” its more than 1 billion voters to participate in the upcoming elections at all levels. That will easily make China the largest “democracy” in the world, although the document never used that particular word. On the other hand, this shows China’s confidence to manifest people’s participation to achieve the justification for the regime’s rule under its “one-party” constitutional confines, using all the mechanisms that are being tested and carried out right now in Hong Kong and Macau to vet, disqualify and detain undesirable candidates before they can stand to run.

However, the fourth section on “protecting the rights of particular groups” lacks the same level of details and setting of goals to achieve as in other sections. These “particular groups” include minorities, women, children, elderlies and the physically challenged. Most notably, for the section on minorities, the stated objective is to “perfect the regional autonomous rule system, consolidate the unified Chinese cultural agenda, support faster development of regions of minority races, and protect the lawful rights of minorities.” In other words, it is akin to a colonial statement of rule rather than protecting minority self-rights or even against discrimination. Also missing, of course, are the LGBTQ+ community among these “particular groups” to be protected.

The long goal: Redefine global human rights standards

Having defined the scope and itemised the Chinese human rights action plan, the last two sections “human rights education and research” and “participating in global human rights governance” shows China’s will to expand the influence of its human rights narrative both domestically and internationally. The regime is confident enough not to completely avoid the discussion of the human rights issue domestically, and at the same time go on the offensive to advocate this vision globally, redefining the basic ideals, principles and priorities of human rights, through “thorough participation in the United Nations’ human rights organization, taking a leadership and constructive role to ensure the healthy and sustainable development of international human rights.”

While one may be easily tempted to write off China’s narrative as self-gratification, the serious global observers would do better by understanding and realising the immense appeal of this narrative to the masses in China as well as many in other countries in the world, from developing nations to even western countries with liberal democracy traditions. As the west continues to be stuck in a quagmire stemming from a combination of ineffective political leadership, divisive politics, racial tensions, COVID-19 and more, China, having absolute control in all aspects political, economic and social, and with its vast market potentials for profits to offer, has its appeal to become the dominant source of political philosophy of the next century — at least so its leaders have come to confidently believe.

The global observers must seek to respond to this Chinese human rights narrative by focusing on its diversion from real protections for individuals’ rights to regime-building exercise for autocracy and the monopoly on truth. This response may well borrow from the last two chapters of the Chinese action plan to include education and research on these contrasting views on human rights, and challenging to take leadership in global human rights governance, including United Nations and beyond.

The Chinese human rights narrative reinterprets the protection of individual rights as a prop for autocracy. While China helped develop the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and even ratified the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, China's actual policies are markedly different: Beijing states that it “will promote the free, well-rounded and common development of all individuals as the general goal — that is, “all individuals” as a group. This allows the ruling regime to redefine such common wellbeing for all to be one conducive to consolidate its own absolute rule, in a society already devoid of democratic institutions and judicial independence, with little regard for the “inalienable rights” of each individual member of society that is supposed to be protected by the UDHR.

Yet, the confidence demonstrated by the Chinese leadership in advocating these new global standards — similar to the recent populist crackdown on big businesses and persons of influence including entertainers — stems from the perception of their own success in stoking domestic nationalist fervors in a highly controlled society with relatively stable economic conditions. This is obviously a model of governance and the human rights narrative that China looks to export to the rest of the world where democratic institutions are lacking, or those nations whose rulers wish to follow China’s authoritarian control on political power, by adopting new laws on “national security,” “foreign interference” and other measures to legitimise their autocratic systems.

In the end, it must be reiterated that without objective, meaningful and enforceable legal and constitutional protections for individuals’ rights, including a bill of rights for every citizen, backed up by an independent judiciary and real rule of law, any talk about human rights agenda is not standing on firm ground. Any other ways to redefine human rights are simply attempts to hijack the cause.

Published: Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Nov 15 2021

Wie China Menschenrechte definiert
Aktionsplan aus Peking

Der Führung in China werden immer wieder Menschenrechtsverletzungen vorgeworfen, etwa im Zusammenhang mit den Lagern für Uiguren in Xinjiang. Peking wehrt sich dagegen – und hat einen Aktionsplan für Menschenrechte in der Volksrepublik für die nächsten Jahre vorgelegt. Das Papier verrät viel über Chinas Motivation, Rechtfertigung und Narrativ.

Am 9. September 2021 veröffentlichte das Informationsbüro des chinesischen Staatsrats, im Grunde das Regierungskabinett des Landes, ein Dokument mit dem Titel: "Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)" , also einen Aktionsplan zum Thema Menschenrechte in China. Trotz des Titels bekam das Papier kaum internationale Aufmerksamkeit. Andere Themen bestimmten die Schlagzeilen, etwa die Immobilien- und Energiekrise der Volksrepublik und die militärische Aggression Pekings gegenüber Taiwan. Es lohnt sich aber, dem Aktionsplan Beachtung zu schenken. Denn die Führung in Peking versucht damit, die westliche Definition der Menschenrechte zu konterkarieren.

China hat seit 2009 mehrere solche Aktionspläne herausgegeben. Nun zeugt das Papier aber vom ausgeweiteten Geltungsbereich und dem gesteigerten Selbstvertrauen eines Regimes, das sich zu einer technokratischen Autokratie mit globalem Einfluss aufschwingen möchte.

Das chinesische Narrativ zum Thema Menschenrechten in den Aktionsplänen ist eher defensiv. Die „Existenzsicherung“ des Volkes wird über die Rechte des Einzelnen gestellt. Gelegentlich prangern die Verfasser westliche Versäumnisse wie Rassendiskriminierung und Kriminalfälle an. Auf chinesischer Seite wird hingegen der Erfolg beim Aufbau eines “moderaten Wohlstands" in der Gesellschaft gefeiert als Beweis für die Errungenschaften der KP im Bereich der Menschenrechte.

Das Thema wird überfrachtet: Alles ist "Menschenrechte"

Eine genauere Untersuchung der sechs Kapitel des neuen Aktionsplans verrät viel über Chinas Motivation, Rechtfertigung und Narrativ. Das erste Kapitel über "wirtschaftliche, soziale und kulturelle Rechte” und das dritte Kapitel über "Umweltrechte" sind im Wesentlichen lange Listen von Maßnahmen zur Gewährleistung der Rechte auf eine gesicherte Existenzgrundlage, auf Arbeit, auf Gesundheit und Bildung sowie auf eine grüne und nachhaltige Entwicklung. Die Liste ist detailliert und umfasst Themen von der Lebensmittel- und Wasserversorgung bis zu erdbebensicheren Wohnungen, von der Umschulung der Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmern bis zur Sicherheit im Kohlebergbau und natürlich dem Umweltschutz. Sogar das Ziel, die Kurzsichtigkeit unter Schülerinnen und Schülern auf unter 65 Prozent zu begrenzen, wird als eine Frage der Menschenrechte bezeichnet.

Wie bei einer kleinen “Rede zur Lage der Nation" stellt Peking weiterhin die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung der gesamten Gesellschaft über die Grundrechte des Einzelnen. Zum Vergleich: Wenn diese Maßnahmen als grundlegender Schutz der Menschenrechte gelten, könnte der gesamte Jahreshaushalt eines Landes als "Errungenschaften im Bereich der Menschenrechte" der jeweiligen Regierung gepriesen werden. Das ist vielleicht nicht ganz falsch, könnte aber dazu dienen, die Aufmerksamkeit von den tatsächlichen Menschenrechtsproblemen abzulenken.

Wähler sollen „mobilisiert“ werden

Das zweite Kapitel des Aktionsplans, "bürgerliche und politische Rechte", enthält vor allem vorgeschlagene Maßnahmen zum Schutz der gerichtlichen, wahlrechtlichen, religiösen und sonstigen Rechte des Einzelnen. Doch steht beispielsweise der Vorschlag, die Dauer der Untersuchungshaft für Angeklagte zu verkürzen, in starkem Kontrast zur derzeitigen Realität in Hongkong, wo seit Mitte 2020 das sogenannte Nationale Sicherheitsgesetz gilt. Behörden haben dort vielen Beschuldigten eine Kaution verweigert. So saßen sie mehr als ein halbes Jahr im Gefängnis, manche sogar länger als ein Jahr. Auf dem chinesischen Festland ist die Situation noch schlimmer. Es mag zwar einige Versuche geben, lange Untersuchungshaft auf lokaler Ebene durch Justizreformen für nichtpolitische Straftaten zu verkürzen. Doch in Anbetracht der vielen Menschen, die wegen vermeintlicher Vergehen gegen die nationale Sicherheit oder anderer politischer Straftaten angeklagt sind, kann von struktureller Verbesserung keine Rede sein. Schließlich versteht es sich von selbst, dass in China Gesetze zur nationalen Sicherheit über allen anderen Gesetzen und rechtlichen Bestimmungen stehen, einschließlich des Schutzes der Menschenrechte.

Unter dem Punkt „Wahlrecht“ will China anstreben, seine mehr als eine Milliarde Wählerinnen und Wähler zur Teilnahme an den bevorstehenden Wahlen auf allen Ebenen zu "mobilisieren". Damit wird China mit Leichtigkeit zur größten "Demokratie" der Welt, obwohl dieses Wort in dem Dokument nie verwendet wird. In Wahrheit will das Regime seine Herrschaft im Rahmen seiner "Einparteien"-Verfassung rechtfertigen. Die Mechanismen, das zu erreichen, sind bereits in Hongkong und Macau erprobt und angewandt. Dort werden unerwünschte Kandidaten überprüft, disqualifiziert und manchmal sogar in Gewahrsam genommen, bevor sie sich zur Wahl stellen können.

LGBTQ+-Gemeinde nicht unter "besonderen Gruppen", die geschützt werden sollen
Das vierte Kapitel über den "Schutz der Rechte bestimmter Gruppen" ist weitaus weniger detailliert und mit deutlich weniger Zielvorgaben versehen als die anderen Kapitel. Zu den "besonderen Gruppen” gehören Minderheiten, Frauen, Kinder, ältere Menschen und Menschen mit körperlichen Behinderungen. Es wird vor allem das Ziel genannt, "das System der regionalen Selbstverwaltung zu vervollkommnen, die einheitliche chinesische Kulturagenda zu konsolidieren, die schnellere (wirtschaftliche) Entwicklung der Regionen der Minderheitenvölker zu unterstützen und die gesetzlichen Rechte der Minderheiten zu schützen". Das Kapitel gleicht eher einer kolonialen Herrschaftserklärung als einer Erklärung zum Schutz der Selbstrechte von Minderheiten oder gar zum Schutz vor Diskriminierung. Die LGBTQ+ Gemeinde fehlt unter diesen "besonderen Gruppen", die geschützt werden sollen.

Das langfristige Ziel: Die globalen Menschenrechtsstandards neu definieren

Die letzten beiden Kapitel "Menschenrechtserziehung und -forschung" und "Beteiligung an der globalen Menschenrechtspolitik" zeigen den Willen Chinas, den Einfluss seines Menschenrechts-Narratives sowohl im eigenen Land als auch auf internationaler Ebene auszuweiten. Das Regime ist selbstbewusst genug, um die Diskussion der Menschenrechtsfrage im Inland nicht völlig zu vermeiden. Gleichzeitig geht es in die Offensive: China formuliert eine globale Vision durch neue Definitionen grundlegender Ideale, Prinzipien und Prioritäten der Menschenrechte. Dieses Ziel will China erreichen durch "gründliche Beteiligung an der Menschenrechtsorganisation der Vereinten Nationen, durch die Übernahme einer führenden und konstruktiven Rolle, um eine gesunde und nachhaltige Entwicklung der internationalen Menschenrechte zu gewährleisten."

Dieses Ziel könnte leicht als Selbstgefälligkeit abgetan werden. Jedoch darf die immense Anziehungskraft des chinesischen Narratives nicht außer Acht gelassen werden – sowohl auf die Menschen in China wie auch auf Bürgerinnen und Bürger vieler anderer Länder der Welt, von Entwicklungsländern bis hin zu westlichen Ländern mit liberalen demokratischen Traditionen. Während der Westen weiterhin vermeintlich in einem Sumpf feststeckt, der aus einer Kombination von ineffektiver politischer Führung, spaltender Politik, Rassismus, COVID-19 und vielem mehr entstanden ist, hat China mit seiner absoluten Kontrolle in allen politischen, wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Aspekten und mit seinem riesigen Marktpotenzial enorme Anziehungskraft. Diese könnte es zur vorherrschende Quelle für die politische Philosophie des nächsten Jahrhunderts werden lassen – zumindest ist die Führung in Peking zuversichtlich, dass dies so sein wird.

Export-Modell für Staatsführung und für das Menschenrechts-Narrativ

Das chinesische Narrativ der Menschenrechte deutet den Schutz der Rechte des Einzelnen zu einer Stütze für die Autokratie um. Während China die Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte der Vereinten Nationen (AEMR) mit entwickelt und den Internationalen Pakt über soziale, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle gar ratifiziert hat, ist Chinas tatsächliche Politik deutlich anders: Peking erklärt, dass es "die freie, umfassende und gemeinsame Entwicklung aller Individuen als allgemeines Ziel fördern wird" – "alle Individuen" werden damit quasi zur Gruppe. Dies ermöglicht es der Führung, dieses gemeinsame Wohlergehen für alle so umzudefinieren, dass es der Festigung seiner eigenen absoluten Herrschaft dient. Und das in einem Staat, in der es bereits keine demokratischen Institutionen und keine Unabhängigkeit der Justiz mehr gibt, und in dem die "unveräußerlichen Rechte" jedes einzelnen Mitglieds der Gesellschaft, die durch die AEMR geschützt werden sollen, wenig Beachtung finden.

Die Zuversicht, mit der die chinesische Führung für diese neuen globalen Standards eintritt, beruht auf der Einschätzung, dass es ihr gelungen ist, in einer stark kontrollierten Gesellschaft mit relativ stabilen wirtschaftlichen Verhältnissen nationalistische Begeisterung zu schüren. Dies ist offensichtlich ein Modell für Staatsführung und für das Menschenrechts-Narrativ, das China in den Rest der Welt exportieren will, und zwar vor allem dorthin, wo demokratische Institutionen fehlen. Oder in jene Nationen, deren Herrscher Chinas autoritärer Kontrolle der politischen Macht folgen wollen, indem sie neue Gesetze zur "Nationalen Sicherheit", gegen “Ausländischen Einmischung" und andere Maßnahmen zur Legitimierung ihrer autokratischen Systeme verabschieden.

Fest steht, dass jede Debatte über eine Menschenrechtsagenda auf wackligen Beinen steht ohne einen objektiven, sinnvollen und durchsetzbaren rechtlichen und verfassungsmäßigen Schutz der Rechte des Einzelnen, einschließlich einer Charta der Rechte für jeden Bürger, die durch eine unabhängige Justiz und echte Rechtsstaatlichkeit gestützt wird. Jede Art, die Menschenrechte neu zu definieren, ist lediglich ein Versuch, sie für die eigenen Zwecke zu kapern.

German version:

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

[Diplomat] China’s Neo-Nationalism Poses Risks for International Businesses

Companies and firms that used to straddle both the West and China with ease – like LinkedIn and Mayer Brown – are now finding themselves in uncharted territory.

By Charles Mok and Dennis Kwok

November 02, 2021

The policies and regulatory decisions coming out of Beijing nowadays show that nothing is too big or too small for the Chinese state to exert control over. Critics of the film “The Battle of Changjin Lake,” a film that glorifies the Korean War against the United States, promptly faced criminal prosecution for dishonoring national heroes. The launch of a new product by Sony was heavily fined by the Chinese authorities for coinciding with the anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge incident in 1937, marking the Japanese invasion of China. The rise of neo-nationalism within the country increasingly drives the many actions taken by the state against the private sector.

This wave of Chinese neo-nationalism is increasingly putting international firms and companies in a precarious position. Companies and firms that used to straddle both the West and China with ease are now finding themselves in uncharted territory.

In October, the U.S. law firm Mayer Brown accepted instructions to act on behalf of its client, the University of Hong Kong, in its attempt to remove the statue “The Pillar of Shame” from the campus. The statue was put there nearly a quarter of a century ago to commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. It was not only a fixture but also a symbol of freedom in the campus of Hong Kong’s oldest university. The institution helped nurture the likes of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Professor Benny Tai, and Edward Leung, who fought for democracy and freedom (the latter two are now both in jail). After outcry overseas, Mayer Brown eventually and rightly withdrew its representation from the University of Hong Kong. This in turn led to angry pro-Beijing politicians in Hong Kong calling on all Chinese firms to boycott Mayer Brown. The firm has a long history in China with many clients in the region.

Another global company facing the same dilemma of staying in the China market under increasing pressures would be the career-oriented social network LinkedIn. On October 14, Microsoft, which owns and operates LinkedIn, announced its decision to cease its present LinkedIn China service by the end of the year, citing a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

In March of this year, China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), told LinkedIn to improve its content moderation — i.e. censorship in China’s context — and the company was ordered to temporarily halt registration of new users. Since then, scores of scholars and journalists have seen their profiles blocked in China, and an outcry from affected users ensued on social media all over the world.

But such censorship is hardly anything new for LinkedIn, which has operated in China since 2014 under a joint venture arrangement with its Chinese partners. For years, LinkedIn was an exemplary case of a model favored by Chinese authorities, so as to maintain operational, financial, and data control on internet services provided by foreign companies. Since the beginning, LinkedIn users have found that certain content is blocked in China, and some users were even summarily told that their posts would not be seen in China. One of the authors of this piece received notices from LinkedIn back in 2014, when the company admitted users’ “public activity visibility” in China would be limited under “specific requirements within China to block certain content.” In short, it was a notice that a user’s posts are banned in China.

Western media and politicians would probably have continued to turn a blind eye to such practices, but their hands were forced thanks in part to China turning up the heat in its recent campaign against other Chinese internet and tech companies. It began last year with actions targeting Ant Financial and Tencent, and continued this summer with action against Didi Chuxing for its IPO in New York. A Yahoo Finance app was recently taken down in China in an attempt to control financial news about China’s economy and markets.

However, it must be pointed out that many Western reports have mistakenly characterized LinkedIn’s move as an “exit” from the China market, comparing it with Google’s termination of its search engine business in China in 2020. Such comparison are inaccurate, given that the company also said it would replace its existing service with a new recruitment-only portal called InJobs, without the fuss of news and social networking, for its Chinese mainland users. In fact, LinkedIn’s China chief issued a “clarification” on the same day of its headquarters’ global announcement, but in China only. On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, he reassured Chinese users that LinkedIn was not leaving China, and would focus on providing value in “connecting job opportunities” for users in China, with InJobs. This “for-China-only” message apparently was not made available in English and hence was largely overlooked by Western media, which chose to report on the company’s move as an “exit.”

In any case, LinkedIn’s move casts doubt on the business environment for foreign companies in China, and in particular the viability of the Chinese joint venture model for service operations in China by foreign firms – the same model that LinkedIn excelled in before its demise. Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, and its Office 365 and Dynamics 365 platforms still operate with a local joint venture partner in China, and so does its chief global cloud competitor, Amazon’s AWS, with its own local Chinese partners. Likewise, Apple operates its iCloud service for Chinese users at its data center in Guizhou province with another local Chinese partner. Will the “more challenging environment” and “greater compliance requirements” LinkedIn pointed to cause these Western tech giants to also reconsider their China-based operations? Time will tell, and it may not take very long.

China’s Data Security law creates a new layer of data called “national core data.” As defined by Article 21, this category consists of data that is vital to national security, national economy, people’s livelihood, and major public interest. A more stringent regulatory system is in place to regulate this “core data.” Intermediaries who deal with such core data are also subject to strict regulations. Given the broad definition of this new category of “core data,” many forms of data held by international firms would be subject to this stringent regulatory system.

The same applies to Wall Street finance firms that are moving more of their operations and investments into China. The financial data held by these firms would likely be subject to regulation as “core data” given that financial security is a key part of national security as pointed out by Xi Jinping in a 2017 speech. In addition, the process of data export management would be subject to the Cybersecurity Law and require approvals from the relevant authorities in China. Foreign firms who wish to export data stored in China to overseas servers or branches would be well advised to follow such legal requirements. Fines could go up to 10 million renminbi plus criminal liabilities may follow, putting China-based employees directly at risk.

From the point of view of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the main political motivation behind enacting such laws is to manage and control data security that poses a potential threat to national security. The fear is that if foreign governments and regulators could obtain access to these data, they could be used against the Chinese state. The other aim is to rein in domestic tech firms that have grown too big and too powerful which threatens the position of Xi and the CCP, as well as foreign tech firms that the regime would trust even less.

With the recent reappearance of Jack Ma in Hong Kong and Europe, many wonder whether this is a sign that the recent waves of controls and regulatory actions by the CCP on the private sector will ease up. Wall Street is divided on whether to invest in or avoid the China market, with major firms such as Blackrock and UBS recommending investors to double down on China.

Another developing front for companies invested in China is increased pressure from the West stemming from a new emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Many international firms and companies have signed on to ESG pledges. Traditionally, however, very little attention has been paid to the “S,” including human rights considerations. There is now the beginning of a conversation to change this.

Speaking at Hong Kong Watch’s report launch at the Conservative Party Conference on Sunday evening, Baroness Helena Morrissey, the chair designate of AJ Bell, recently spoke about why ESG investors must start taking their human rights commitments seriously, particularly in the context of China.  Morrissey said it is time to “call out investor hypocrisy” and that investors must “rethink their dealings in areas where there are clear human rights abuses.” She referred to a range of international standards to illustrate that investors have a responsibility to protect human rights, including the U.N. principles for responsible investing, the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the elaboration in 2017 of a reporting framework on business and human rights, and just over a year ago, the development of further guidance for investors.

From now leading up to the National People’s Congress of March 2022, we predict that Xi will continue to drive up nationalism by using populist policies against private enterprises. Political considerations for the CCP would be paramount, trumping economic ones. Foreign firms would find themselves ever more at risk in this new market environment, as they continue to be squeezed between the West and China.

Published: The Diplomat, November 2 2021