(East-West Question) Zhang Yonghe: Human rights are an open concept

  China News Agency, Beijing, May 24th: Human rights are an open concept

  Author Zhang Yonghe Executive Dean and Professor of Human Rights Research Institute of Southwest University of Political Science and Law

  The concept of human rights originated from the West, and its earliest theoretical framework was established by the bourgeoisie during the rise of capitalism.

It is a product of the times, starting from absolute individualism and understanding the concept of human rights as "civil and political rights".

This narrow understanding is related to the emergence of the Western concept of human rights.

For example, the British "Magna Carta", also known as the "Aristocratic Program", which is regarded as the "first human rights document", is a constitutional document proposed by 25 British manor lords out of fear of their rights being violated by the king. request.

The American Declaration of Independence, known as the "First Declaration of Human Rights," does not contain any text about the human rights of blacks and Indians in its entirety.

It can be said that this understanding of human rights reflects class characteristics, which is the fundamental characteristic of Western political philosophy and judicial practice.

Because of this, Marxism not only criticizes bourgeois human rights, but also criticizes bourgeois laws for protecting such "class human rights" without any ambiguity.

  The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee conducted the thirty-seventh collective study on China's human rights development path on February 25 this year.

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, pointed out in his study, "Human rights are historical, concrete, and realistic, and human rights cannot be talked about in isolation from the social and political conditions and historical and cultural traditions of different countries." This is the best explanation of the logic of the development of human rights civilization.

  As an imported product, the Chinese people's understanding and grasp of human rights have gone through a difficult and tortuous process.

However, the Communist Party of China has summed up the successful experience of respecting and protecting human rights by combining the Marxist concept of human rights with China's concrete reality and the excellent traditional Chinese culture.

China's human rights is a path that suits its own national conditions, conforms to the trend of the times, draws on the achievements of world civilization, insists that "the right to subsistence and development are the primary basic human rights", and insists on the balanced development of various rights.

In December 2021, in a poverty alleviation workshop in Xinyang City, Henan Province, workers rushed to make down jackets.

Photo by China News Agency by Xie Wanbai

  It should be noted that if human beings exist as "classes", Chinese and Western human rights use the common concept of rights.

From the perspective of self-care, there is no essential difference between Chinese and Western human rights concepts.

  Unfortunately, in human rights practice, there are differences in the concept of human rights between China and the West.

Western mainstream human rights theories believe that human rights are civil and political rights of "negative rights", which are determined by the inherent logic of the capitalist system.

Such a view of human rights is inherently flawed.

China believes that civil and political rights are very important human rights, as are economic, social and cultural rights.

Without a certain economic, social and cultural foundation, other rights will be blown away.

  Imagine if it was not the lord who signed the Magna Carta with King John at Rannemede on the outskirts of London, but the serfs in the domain, then the content of the Magna Carta must not be what people see today; The "Declaration of Independence" is not about the farmers including Washington, but about the slaves on the farms, then the "Declaration of Independence" will be another rhetoric.

  China does not have a period of capitalism with colonialism like the West. The most striking feature of China's human rights development path is its people.

Xi Jinping emphasized that "people are the center", "the country is the people, and the people are the country", which reflects the essence of people's nature in China's human rights concept.

People's nature is the most marked spiritual core of Chinese human rights theory.

The people's nature is put forward to protect the people's dominant position and whether the people can really be the masters of the country.

In recent years, China has put forward the theoretical innovation of "people's democracy in the whole process", which has formed palpable, comprehensive, real, concrete and effective political rights.

The slogan "Jiangshan is the people, the people is the country" on the streets of Lianyungang, Jiangsu.

Photo by Geng Yuhe issued by China News Agency

  Another important aspect of people's nature is whether the people really live a happy life.

In China, in order to let the people live a happy life, the first thing to solve is the problem of poverty, especially "absolute poverty".

From the current point of view, the greatest significance of the progress of China's human rights cause is to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, so that the cause of human rights can benefit every Chinese.

  The rights to subsistence and development are the foundation of other rights.

As a major developing country, China's human rights issues need to be resolved gradually.

After repeated explorations and failures on human rights, China has found that the only way to develop China's human rights cause is to combine the universal principle of human rights with China's national conditions and learn from the achievements of human civilization.

Without the right to subsistence and development, other rights are nothing without roots.

Therefore, after China established that "the right to subsistence and the right to development are the primary basic human rights", the Chinese government, through down-to-earth poverty alleviation and alleviation, moved from a "well-off family" to a "well-off society", from "generally well-off" to "comprehensively well-off" , from "building a well-off society in an all-round way" to "building a well-off society in an all-round way", realizing the strategic goal of a happy life for the people and completely changing the living conditions of the Chinese people.

The National Day-themed flower bed of "Comprehensive Well-off" on the streets of Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Xinglong

  The theory and practice of human rights in China is to combine the universal principle of human rights with the reality of China. It is different from the Western human rights theory with individual liberalism as the core, and it is something that Western human rights practice has never faced.

China's human rights cause follows a path of human rights development that suits itself, and does not judge itself by the human rights standards of other countries.

In fact, the human rights cause of any country can only develop its own human rights path by relying on its own construction.

  In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 217A(III) and promulgated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was a landmark document in the history of human rights and meant that mankind shared the first banner of human rights.

In 1976, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the two Covenants on Human Rights) came into effect, which enabled human beings to share the basic norms of human rights action and became the international community's understanding of the cause of human rights in the world. common divisor.

  In the face of many differences in human rights concepts between China and the West, some politicians in the West should first abandon ideological prejudice in mutual communication and exchange, and under the framework of the United Nations, form a fair, reasonable and inclusive overall plan for global human rights governance, including international peace. , security, development, etc., abide by the common values ​​of all mankind, and form the concepts of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, win-win cooperation, and common development in actively participating in UN human rights affairs.

Establish a new international political and economic order that is fair, reasonable, equal and mutually beneficial.

Extensive international human rights exchanges and cooperation with other countries, especially developing countries, play a constructive role.

(Finish)

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Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Yu

   In the face of many differences in human rights concepts between China and the West, some politicians in the West should first abandon ideological prejudice in mutual communication and exchange, and under the framework of the United Nations, form a fair, reasonable and inclusive overall plan for global human rights governance, including international peace. , security, development, etc., abide by the common values ​​of all mankind, and form the concepts of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, win-win cooperation, and common development in actively participating in UN human rights affairs.

Establish a new international political and economic order that is fair, reasonable, equal and mutually beneficial.

Extensive international human rights exchanges and cooperation with other countries, especially developing countries, play a constructive role.

(Finish)

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