Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Human Rights 

The Communist Party of China is 90 years old, and this summer is dedicated to celebration of the event. As part of it's propaganda surrounding the anniversary, China Daily published an interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn. One statement stands out. It is his response to the question of human rights:
Here is the social contract from the perspective of China's leaders. The economic human rights to a decent standard of living and the social human rights to personal and social freedoms of more than 1.3 billion people are more important than the unfettered political human rights of a relatively few people. In order for China to continue its remarkable development, and to continue to increase the personal and social freedoms of its people, political stability is required. There can be no progress without stability, and instability, which China endured throughout much of the horrific 20th century, both imposed by foreigners and severely self-generated, has been a national scourge. Political stability requires a one-party system, which itself requires limitations of certain political rights, such as assembly, and restrictions of media freedoms, namely, political debate. Yet, today, the Chinese people have more personal and social freedoms than at any time in their 5,000-year history.
This really is the bottom line with China. The good of the masses takes precedence over the rights of a few rabble-rousers. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a paid consultant for the Chinese government, so one would expect him to say something that makes China feel good. But there is some merit in this argument. So many times in today's China, you see people fighting for the right to complain about the lack of freedom to complain. Still, the greater freedom does not negate the importance of speaking up for those who are victims of China's progress.

It is true that, in fact, people in China have a lot more freedom than they had before. But there are areas that do need reform. Particularly important among those is criminal practice. Judges are not independent in China. The problem is that the ones who are crying the loudest don't seem to be fighting for the rights of the poor and downtrodden. They appear, rather, to be fighting for their right to fight. When David was fighting Goliath, his classic statement was "is there not a cause (1 Samuel 17:29)?" There is widespread corruption in China today. Poor people in the countryside are often the victims of that corruption. But who is speaking out for them?

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