Our principles

The decision to establish the Cross Cultural Human Rights Centre was taken on September 24th, 2014. The Centre operates as a think tank, which draws the attention, mainly of Northern audiences, to Southern ideas, concepts and accomplishments in the area of human rights.

As part of this mission it makes Southern publications available to a wider public. The Centre will also organise seminars, debates and presentations and it will take its own policy initiatives. Thus, the first project of the Centre is to demonstrate that the Universal Declaration is the expression of many different philosophies and world views.

The Centre operates within the academic framework of the Receptor Approach. This approach assumes that, despite the fact that the term ‘human rights’ was coined in the North, human rights have been part and parcel of Southern societies for centuries and sometimes even millennia. Recognising these human rights requires taking a broad view, which enables the observer to look beyond formal legal institutions and liberal values, which tend to sustain human rights in the North. In Southern societies patterns of behaviour, which are passed on from generation to generation, which are called social institutions, and communal values usually serve as building blocks for human rights. You can download an independent assessment of the Receptor Approach here.

Those who participate in the Centre believe that developing human rights theory is not the prerogative of a particular geographical area or philosophy. The drafters of the Universal Declaration have made it clear that the field of human rights is a ‘big tent’. Contributions to it have been and will be made by Liberals, Marxists, Buddhists, Confucians and representatives of other religious or social philosophies.

Membership of the Centre is open to individual academics and their associations, universities and think tanks across the world. Ten top academic institutions in China and five leading universities in Africa have already signed up to this initiative.

The day-to-day running of the Centre will be the responsibility of the Executive Committee. During the meeting in Beijing a five member ‘Building Committee’ was elected, which is in charge of setting up the Centre until the Executive Committee will take over. The work of the Executive Committee will be overseen by the Governing Board, which will represent all participating institutions.

The following video contains a considerable part of the philosophy of the CCHRC.

Who we are


President, Governing Board:

Prof. Thandabantu NhlapoEmeritus Professor of Private Law and former Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Town 


Members of the Building Commitee:

Prof. Mimi ZouAssistant Professor of Law and Associate Director (China Programme) of the Centre for Rights and Justice at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof. Jian ChangProfessor and Vice-Dean, Zhou Enlai School of Government and Executive Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights, Nankai University

Prof. Serges KamgaAssociate Professor at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa

Prof. Augustine Hungwe, professorial research fellow at the Cross-cultural Human Rights Centre.

Prof. Tom Zwart, professor of Cross-cultural Law at Utrecht University and Director of the Cross-cultural Human Rights Centre Office at VU.

Liu Huawen, Professor of Human Rights at the Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Members of the PhD Council

Lydia Le, PhD candidate at Central China Normal University, Chair.

Phoebe Oyugi, PhD candidate at Stellenbosch University, Secretary General.


The CCHRC is an informal group of researchers dedicated to the Centre’s principles. This section introduces a few of the more active associates. It is not an exhaustive list and will be regularly updated and extended.

Peter Peverelli, affiliated with the School of Business and Economics of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Director of the China Research Centre there. At CCHRC, Peter is responsible for maintaining the web site. Academically, he is working on making the Fons Trompenaars’ 7-Dimension model of national culture applicable to human rights.

Peng (Penny) Qinxuan; Penny studied internatioan law at Wuhan University, China and received a PhD in Law at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She is specialised in the rights of female and migrant workers.