1. “Community of common destiny” or “community of shared future”

Origin and use:

This phrase was first used by Xi Jinping’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, in his report to the 18th Party Congress in 2012, in which he called for awareness of a “community of common destiny” to take root among China’s neighbours. Under Xi, building a community of common destiny has become the overarching objective of Chinese foreign policy – not just regionally, but globally.

Implications for human rights:

The inclusion of this concept in UN documents gives it legitimacy. Every time it appears in a document that has been accepted or condoned by other countries, it offers support for and endorsement of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”. As a phrase coined by the Chinese Communist Party and embedded in the Chinese constitution, it confers unusual authority to a single country and a single party whenever it appears in international texts.

In this reading, development goals risk becoming divorced from and prioritized over human rights and international relations are to be governed by cooperation between states, not mutual accountability of the international community to protect universal human rights. As a result, this new “consensus”, as China calls it, could significantly undermine international human rights diplomacy and effective international human rights protection.