During the past decade, the Chinese government has pursued greater engagement with a range of international legal regimes. China's expanded participation in international regimes for trade and human rights, for example, can provide deeper understanding of the factors influencing China's international behaviour. Building upon scholarly perspectives about institutional compliance with treaty texts and the influence of local conditions on China's policies and practice, this article examines China's participation in international legal regimes for trade and human rights in light of dynamics of normative engagement and the paradigm of selective adaptation. Normative tensions help explain China's policies and practices on compliance with the WTO trade regime, while the imperative of normative engagement helps explain much about China's international human rights diplomacy.
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