Analysis of Human Rights PoliciesOf Chinese-funded Overseas Enterprises
September 11,2014   By:CSHRS

Wang Lifeng

Since China’s reform and opening-up, Chinese enterprises investing overseas have increased rapidly, expanding the scale of overseas investment. Ministry of Commerce data from the 2010 statistical bulletin detailing China’s foreign direct investment show that as of the end of 2010, more than 13,000 Chinese and foreign-invested enterprises in China have directly invested in more than 16,000 enterprises overseas, with cumulative net foreign direct investment of 317.21 billion U.S. Dollars. Meanwhile, protests, boycotts or attacks against Chinese-funded enterprises in some countries and regions have continued. The Myitsone Dam project in Myanmar was halted due to protests by local people and nongovernmental organizations. At the end of 2012, four Chinese employees in northeastern Nigeria were attacked and killed by unidentified armed people. These boycotts, protests and attacks against Chinese-funded enterprises have not only harmed their legitimate interests overseas, but also seriously interfered with the operation and development of those enterprises. After careful analysis, it might be noticed that one important reason for these problems is that those Chinese-funded overseas enterprises did not define or pay enough attention to human rights policies.

In fact, as early as the 1980s,during the early stage of Chinese enterprises “going out [into the world],” the Chinese government attached great importance to the management behavior of enterprises investing overseas. In order to guide and promote enterprises “going out,” the government has issued some policies. In 1981, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation issued interim provisions on setting up joint ventures abroad. In 1989, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Bank of China issued interim measures on financial management of foreign trade, finance and insurance enterprises abroad. However, these policies were mainly involved with the operations of such enterprises.

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