China’s Belt and Road Initiative is Reshaping Human Rights Norms

By: Mikkaela A. Salamatin


PDF: China's Belt and Road Initiative


Since its birth in 2015, the Belt and Road Initiative has garnered significant attention for its benefits and its detriments. Much of the current scholarship in this area is focused on particular pieces of the Belt and Road Initiative, with few in legal scholarship considering the

impact of the relationship between China’s growing soft power and its effect on international law and international institutions. Every state has the right to pursue power and influence, but this Note specifically examines how China’s methods of obtaining this power and influence— specifically through the Belt and Road Initiative and related actions within United Nations’ organs—are detrimental to human rights. This Note offers a novel analysis of resolutions passed in the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to shed light on emerging soft law foundations that could justify future extreme acts, before examining steps that states should take to address China’s actions.