, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 35-55
Date: 07 Oct 2009

The Limits of Normative Power Europe in Asia: The Case of Human Rights in China

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In recent years an increasing number of works on EU international actorness have begun to focus on notions of “normative, value-driven external policy”. However, the majority of these works tend to uncritically analyse EU foreign policy without considering its internal complexity and the existing national, supranational and intergovernmental dynamics. This paper first sheds light on these issues by proposing an original theoretical and analytical framework to study European, rather than merely EU, normative foreign policy. Secondly, this paper attempts to empirically apply such a framework in the specific case of European human rights promotion in China. What emerges is that in the case of China, and Asia more broadly, Europe appears more as a normative trap, where the interaction of EU institutions and member states originate policies not in line with the EU human rights normative basis.