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Why Chinese Take a Different View on Human Rights:

In: Social Issues

Submitted By zjhzcsc
Words 1698
Pages 7
Saxan (Chen Shicai)
Prof Warmbrand
August 8, 2013
ENG 1203
Why Chinese Take a Different View on Human Rights:
A Review of Literature
China often faces the criticisms in human rights records. Comparing to the eagerly expectation of improving human rights situation from west world, the response of China government and Chinese seems far from warm. These strange reactions raise an issue. Furthermore, I will try to find the possible causes and the consequences of this issue, and finally, put forward some possible solutions.
The Issues
China has many issues in human rights. The beginning of critiques comes from the Tiananmen Accident. As Wan Ming pointed out, “Western rights pressure since 1989 has had an indirect impact”. Since the US and some other countries put strong pressure on Chinese government, Beijing realized that legal form is a necessity in human rights progress (Wan). However, after noticing the democratization could “erode the party dominance”, CPC (Communist Party of China) choose to resist the pressure from Western (Wan).
The most severe critiques of China’s human rights come from the one child policy. China adapted birth control since the population pressure since Mao era; and then, China became the only country that “using legislation and administration power to control the birth rate”(Chen). Since China has a traditional patriarchal mentality misconception, there are many baby girls being abandoned. As Chen cited the statistic from Sarah Lubman, “Close to 800,000 baby girls abandoned or killed in a single region between 1971-80 alone” (Chen). Not only that but more human rights problems come up in the progress when government enforced the One-Child policy. “Because of the ideological authoritarianism that is in the back ground of enforcement procedures”, government used some illegal methods as the forced abortion or sterilization. The organ-adoption is also a scandal in the enforcement of one child policy. The CPC was accused of selling the organ from children whose parents cannot pay the fine to foreigners to increase income. Chen Bo cited from Sharon Lafraniere that "Too many infants, they (the parents who hide in the mountain to avoid the search of officials) say, have been snatched by officials, never to be seen again." While improving the one child policy, China government also gives a specific response: to improve the economic. With such a big number of populations, China’s economy cannot reach 2nd in the world. “The large number of working population and smaller number of children give the society less burden on the resource.”(Chen) It’s exactly the benefit of One-Child policy.
Another widespread criticized human rights issue is Tibet problem. We can boast that Tibet can be regard as a museum of human rights issues in China because Tibet includes many aspects from religion freedom to political rights. According to the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights, the countless human rights problems in Tibet include “arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life”, “torture and other cruel and degrading Treatment”, “prison and detention center conditions”, “arbitrary arrest or detention”, “denial of fair public trial”. To those critiques, China has an unassailable response in logical. At first, China government shows that Tibet “is an inalienable part of Chinese territory” through many historical materials at first. Then, the China government comes up with “the principle of no interference of internal affairs” to illegalize the expose of bad human rights records from western media (Chen). At last, the government also responses that there are many misleading reports among the western media to defend the human rights station. However, the voice from western countries did not embrace those statements. As said in 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, “The government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas (of Tibet)” and “government increased its severe cultural and religious repression of ethnic minorities in Tibetan areas.”
To conclude, China holds the view that social stability is more important than human rights; the development of economy is important than human rights and other countries should not interfere in the internal affairs of human rights. However, critiques from western world show us that human rights are the most important thing in their minds. Since human rights should be a universal value, one country should be intervened when their people’s rights cannot be guaranteed.
There are two different factors between China and Western that may explain the different view on human rights. That is the difference history and in guiding ideology.
History cause. China had a very miserable modern history because we had many self-invited guests. As China official media People’s Daily said: “The modern history of China is a magnificent picture scroll on the continuous struggle for national independence and the people's liberation by the Chinese nation.” Chinese people struggle for 109 years until “lifted the curtain on the New Democratic Revolution” ("Signed Article" on May Fourth Movement). The long period of chaos and upheaval had inspired people’s yearning for peace. When the peace finally came, Chinese valued it much; even the life is not satisfied, they do not want any wars or revolutions. Because of this attitude, the government’s keeping stability could be make sense in China.
The ancient China had a hierarchy under the feudal system, which last for several thousand years. The feudal system strictly divides people by bureaucratic hierarchy or feudal hierarchy (Yu). Such a rigid hierarchy is completely opposed to “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, which is the first article in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to People's Daily, China did not get rid of feudal idea until the May Fourth Movement in 1919. It means Chinese get in touch with the concepts of “democracy” or “science” no more than one hundred year, let alone human rights.
However, Western has a history of pursuit the human rights. In the Declaration of the rights of man and the citizen, which was a result of French Revolution in 1789, French already mentioned “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights” The sentence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” in Declaration of Independence in 1776 can also be regarded as the awake of human rights consciousness. Those two declarations were only the result of revolutions, behind those revolutions, many great thinkers has put forward their human rights ideas. People in western countries have deal with human rights for several centuries. Comparing to western countries, human rights concept is very new, that’s may explain the Chinese’s apathy in human rights issue.
The several thousand years’ feudal system also makes China shutting the door on the world, for example, Ming dynasty ban on private shipping in 1371 (Nicolas). Since China only has little contract with the other part of world for more than five hundred years, Chinese get used to it in their mind. That can be considered as one of the reason that China government always uses “the principle of no interference of internal affairs”.
Guiding Ideology cause. The difference in guiding ideology may also lead the different understanding of human rights. China believes in Marxism officially which mean the mainstream ideology is materialism. We were told material decides consciousness every day, then, based on this, they taught that “the economic base decides a superstructure” which including politics and culture. When I thought in this way, I felt nervous because it is as cold as marble in area of human nature. However, most western countries do not have a compulsive ideological education. The forced Marxism education in China may be a reason for why China always put economic development at first and ignore the human rights.
Consequences of the Difference
The different views in human rights have extensive influences. In politic, it forced China’s reform in politics and legal; as Wan said: “Beijing sees legal reform and the signing of international rights conventions as evidence of progress”. In economy, though it does help China economy a lot in the past because of the stability environment, it’s hard to evaluate its’ future influence because the social contradictions are intensifying. In culture area, China’s cultural transmission and meet some problems because the ignorance of universal value. For example, I cannot suffer many website because of the censorship.
If we want to change the bad human rights situation which is very important to our future development, the China government should change the “ostrich policy” towards human rights and face the problem. As mentioned in the “issues”, China has so many bad human rights records; the government should redress them at first to show its determination of improving human rights. Then, because of the lack of legal guarantee in human rights, government should speed up the lawmaking especially in guaranteeing the freedom of speech. Since that the main course of human rights issues in China came from the government itself, the government should have a more efficient internal supervision in administrative system. And in the meanwhile, the government should allow more NGOs in this area to serve as a supplement of supervision.

Works Cited
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008. 25 Feb 2009. 12 Aug 2013 <>.
Chen, Bo. "China's Dilemma in Human Rights: Through the Perspective of Critiques Abroad and China's Response." Journal of Politics and Law 5.3 (2012): 25-32. ProQuest. Web. 5 Aug. 2013.
"China: People's Daily Publishes "Signed Article" on may Fourth Movement." BBC Monitoring Asia PacificMay 08 2009. ProQuest. Web. 12 Aug. 2013 .
Nicolas, Arsenio. "Gongs, Bells, and Cymbals: The Archaeological Record in Maritime Asia from the Ninth to the Seventeenth Centuries." Yearbook for Traditional Music 41 (2009): 62-93. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2013.
Wan, Ming. "Human Rights Lawmaking in China: Domestic Politics, International Law, and International Politics." Human Rights Quarterly 29.3 (2007): 727,729,733-734,738-753. ProQuest. Web. 5 Aug. 2013.
Yu, Tianyuan, and Nengquan Wu. "Bureaucratic Hierarchy Vs. Feudal Hierarchy: A Study on the Organizational Culture of China's SOEs." International Journal of Business and Management 6.2 (2011): 139-46. ProQuest. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.

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