Chinese Human Rights Guidance on Minerals Sourcing: Building Soft Power
(Forthcoming) Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, Vol 46, No 2, 2017
14 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 17 Nov 2017
Date Written: September 8, 2017
China’s economic engagement in Africa has been subject to criticism on social and environmental fronts. This analysis examines two sets of guidelines launched by the government-related China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals. Aiming to promote responsible investment in the minerals sector and risk-based due diligence to ensure socially responsible sourcing of minerals with a particular focus on human rights, the guidelines refer to international human rights standards and are designed to be consistent with guidance issued by the OECD. The article discusses the Chinese guidelines as responses to the international critique and concludes they are elements of China’s soft power efforts meant to enhance the country’s reputation as a responsible actor on the global stage. The analysis comes from the perspective of China’s deployment of state-driven Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), its complex relationship with international human rights, and its engagement with the emergent international Business and Human Rights (BHR) regime.
Keywords: Business impact on human rights, Chinese human rights policies, conflict minerals, Corporate Social Responsibility, minerals sector investment and sourcing, risk-based due diligence, soft power
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