The Chinese Concept of Human Rights Focuses on Results, Not Theory

Listen, Uncle Sam is busy cleaning up his own mess on human rights issues. Does the United States still think this is the beacon of human rights? Artwork: GT

When China was underdeveloped, it chose to remain silent and show restraint when the United States criticized it.

Nowadays, more and more human rights issues in the West are coming to light. Meanwhile, the Chinese people have become more confident in sharing China’s human rights cause’s vital contribution to global development.

China’s progress in human rights has at least three important aspects for the world, which are ignored by most Western media and politicians.

First, China’s progress in human rights has positively promoted the development of human civilization in the 21st century.

Since the beginning of this century, more than 10 wars have broken out, resulting in more than 20 million refugees. Natural disasters caused by climate change also lead to around 5 million deaths per year. According to a UN report, nearly 690 million people are hungry. The still raging COVID pandemic has affected over 526 million people with an additional 14.9 million deaths associated with the virus.

The progress of human rights in China has gone through such difficult times. In 2021, China eradicated extreme poverty. Over the past four decades, China has waged no wars, suffered no famines, and experienced no financial crises as it fiercely fought the pandemic, doubled its forest cover, and advanced in low-income development. carbon emission. Disasters that have impacted the progress of human civilization in the 21st century, including wars, financial crisis, climate change, famine, etc., have affected Chinese people much less than others.

It can be said that China’s pragmatic progress in human rights, combined with guarding the country against these disasters that could impact human rights, has made China the high point of the 21st century in the development of human civilization.

Second, China’s progress is a new breakthrough in the practice of human rights around the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 and the subsequent series of human rights treaties formed the basis of rules and the theoretical foundation for the promotion of the development of human rights. of man.

But there is often a gap between the theoretical vision and the practical implementation. Even in the United States, the strongest country in the world, racial discrimination and gun violence run deep, while universal health care is far from achieved, even after half a century of effort. All of this turned into a “cancer” for human rights in America, pushing human rights theories into a dilemma. However, China’s progress in human rights has provided the possibility of a practical breakthrough in human rights goals that even developed Western countries themselves have failed to achieve.

Third, China’s progress in human rights is a new benchmark to help developing countries put their own human rights on the right track. In 2021, nearly 700 million people still live in extreme poverty, the majority of them in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Extreme poverty rates in countries like South Sudan, Burundi and Madagascar remain above 70%. In recent decades, even traditionally developed countries such as the United States, Japan, Italy and Sweden have experienced extreme poverty rates ranging from 0.3% to 1.5%.

Western society has paid attention to the development path of human rights with democratic political elections as the central concept, emphasizing the logic of free competition, while making capital supremacy their preferred policy. This can not only provide a fundamental prescription for the complex road of human rights around the world, but also has led many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America down a wrong path in their national development trajectory.

China has not copied the Western approach to human rights, but considers people’s right to subsistence and development as its top priority. It can be said with confidence that China’s progress in human rights has broadened the inherent development path of human rights across the world since the 20th century. The country has become the most determined major power to strengthen the UN Human Rights Council, offering new options for developing countries to get back on the path of improving human rights.

From the above three viewpoints, the West ignores the global significance of the rapid development of human rights in China and constantly points the finger at details and individual cases of human rights in China. , and even magnifies them to tarnish China’s national image. It is a violation of basic facts and reflects the West’s narrowness in terms of theory and vision, and it also reflects the West’s arrogance and even evil in foreign exchanges. From this perspective, the West owes China an apology for human rights and does not have the capacity to offer sincere praise.

Of course, exposing the global importance of human rights in China for the progress of human civilization, for the theory and practice of human rights in the world and for developing countries does not mean that human rights in China have no flaws or shortcomings. As the largest developing country, China is and will remain for a long time at the primary stage of socialism, and there is still a large room for development in terms of national income, environmental protection, social equity, rule of law, cultural services. , and political rights.

Ultimately, it is believed that China’s career in the field of human rights will continue to develop, and China will contribute more to the continued progress of human rights in the world.

The author is a professor and executive dean of the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. [email protected]

Sharon D. Cole