Better, But Still a Lot to Improve

Today’s New York Times has a report about China’s human rights improvements. The name of the report is Despite Flaws, Rights in China Have Expanded. Among numerous reports from the western media covering the human rights issues in China, I find few like this one – it admits that there are many improvements in China with regards to the western defined human rights in the past decades. But, the western media still have a long long way to go in order to achieve their self-labeled objectiveness – just like the Chinese government needs to improve its human rights records.

First of all, one can never claim that the western defined human rights is a universal value. At least before modernization or even the 20th century, many concepts of modern human rights did not exist at all. And I am pretty confident that in the future, many of our current human rights definitions will become obsolete. It took years to formalize these ideas and make them being accepted by the societies. Expecting a country as complicated as China to be like the western countries in a night or even in several decades is simply unrealistic. It took the western world hundreds of years to polish their human rights issues, why wouldn’t they give China a bit of more time? I do not know other western countries. But I do know that in US, few teachers in school would harshly criticize their students almost everyday. So please think about this for a second before blaming China’s human rights problems.

Plus, China has its own values. In fact, from the view point of ancient China, in thousands of years the western world had never achieved the same values and level of civilization as of China. I guess if at that moment we had the same level of information exchange as today’s, the western world would find themselves in a similar awkward position as today’s China in terms of human rights and civilization. So, before criticizing China’s human rights record, the western media better back off a little bit and first take a look at its own history and record.

As an employee of a company, I know that concrete suggestions are more important than empty words in my work. Most western news reports about China’s human rights only looked at the problems, and few took a little deeper thought about the cause of these problems and hinted detailed steps leading to possible solutions. For example, in today’s NYTimes report, the author first blamed that “the (Chinese) government relies on unwritten laws: …state stability trumps nascent notions of human rights”. Then he quoted a riot happened recently in Guizhou Province caused by “rumors of police malfeasance and a cover-up spread widely on the Internet”. Does the journalist realize that his quotation of the riot actually supports the Chinese government’s “unwritten laws”? Even with these “unwritten laws” in place, some rumors on the Internet already could cause riot. Without those “unwritten laws”, wouldn’t China because as chaos as today’s Iraq or Darfur? At least in China, people there are secure enough to keep their lives and improve their economy and political situations steadily. In Iraq or Darfur, who knows how long he/she can even survive?!!

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