The politics of localizing human rights: Chinese policies and corporate practices in Latin America

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The 'Going Out' strategy that China began in 1999 escalated to a global level with the 'Belt and Road Initiative' in 2013. However, the lack of a clear international framework for corporate accountability accentuates the risks of human rights' affectation by Chinese corporations, considering their controversial performance in Latin America. This article engages with the scholarly framework of international norm localization to analyze the enactment of Chinese business and human rights standards and their concrete application. This assessment relies on an extensive review of academic and policy research and the analysis of social conflicts around one of the largest copper mines in the region, Las Bambas, located in the highlands of Peru. The case shows that the main problem is not the lack of incorporation of business and human rights standards into national laws and the guidelines of companies' home regulators, but the different ways they are interpreted by social actors on the ground. Local communities are not passive receptors of those norms but norm makers who appropriate them and provide new meanings in line with their self-determination. Chinese and national authorities and firms, therefore, need to engage with those norms from the perspective of local people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-460
Number of pages22
JournalBusiness and Human Rights Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Chinese investments
  • due diligence
  • Key Words Human rights standards
  • Latin America


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