Over the past decade, there has been growing controversy over the social and environmental impacts of Chinese investments in host countries, particularly in ‘weak governance zones’ (a term used by the OECD to describe ‘countries where governments are unwilling or unable to assume their responsibilities’). As China’s ‘Going Out’ strategy enters a new phase under Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the conduct of Chinese state-owned and private companies investing along the ‘Belt and Road’ countries are likely to be subject to increasing international scrutiny. As the OBOR also reflects a ‘soft power’ strategy to realise China’s ambitions of expanding its regional and global role, there may be certain expectations among the international community that the government should ensure, to some extent, that its firms act as ‘good corporate citizens’ abroad. Prof Zou will examine the question of whether China’s public and private actors may implement the OBOR initiative in a sustainable and socially responsible manner and/or ‘export’ poor environmental and labour standards in a ‘race to the bottom’.
We invite Mimi Zou, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to discuss.
Prof Mimi Zou is Associate Director of the Centre for Rights and Justice and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a senior consultant to the International Labour Organization China & Mongolia office. Prior to joining CUHK, Mimi has taught law and management subjects at the University of Oxford, Utrecht University, and University of Sydney. She has also worked in corporate legal practice, international organisations, government departments, and financial institutions in Asia and Europe for over 13 years. Mimi completed her Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford. She is a qualified Solicitor of England and Wales and admitted to practice in New South Wales, Australia.