Normative Power Europe and the Uyghur Genocide: The effect of the Uyghur genocide on the EU’s norm diffusion policy
Knaap, L.E. van der
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It is often theorised that the European Union is a normative power, but little is known about the EU’s functioning as a normative power in areas further removed from its direct neighbourhood. China’s influence in world politics has increased sharply in the last decade, but so have the worrisome reports on human rights violations, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Thus far, researchers believe that the EU reduces its normative approach in favour of economic interests in relation to authoritarian regimes. The goal of this research is to investigate whether the events in Xinjiang – such as unlawful detentions, mass surveillance, forced labour – have influenced the EU’s normative behaviour towards China. To do so, the thesis answers the following question: To what extend did the Uyghur genocide have an influence on the EU to change its normative policy towards China since 2014? In that year, the Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism was launched. To answer the research question, the thesis analyses eight key instances of EU interaction with the crisis, divided over three thematically different periods. The analysis makes use of the guidelines and questions formulated by Niemann and De Wekker to determine the level of normative intent, process, and impact of the actions and documents. The research showed that the EU’s policy towards China did become more normative due to the events in Xinjiang. It therefore concludes that the EU prioritises norms over economics in relation to authoritarian states such as China in critical situations. To further investigate this theory, additional research could focus on the tension in Hong Kong.