The Central Committee of the PRC is promising "extensive and profound" changes by 2020 including raising the importance of the Constitution. Since 2004, the PRC Constitution has included amendments about human rights. President Xi says human rights for Chinese is not the same as for other people. From a chi point of view, what are human rights? Are Chinese human rights really different?
¡@¡@President Xi explained the differences between human rights in China and the rest of the world. He's talking about something in a much more detailed specification. In this, he considers a lot of things related to history, local politics and culture and other cultural values and significances.
¡@¡@From a universal point of view, human rights are something given by god or is innate in humans. But the problem is these rights differ in each nation, tribe, and region. Why? Although human rights are innate, these rights are protected by the ideology or cultural history of that nation, tribe or region. That ideology or cultural history is manipulated and controlled by a minority of people there, not the majority which doesn't know what's going on. Since this minority made the laws, they focus on the parts of human rights they understand. In other words, the term "human rights" is linked with human freedom and liberty. If we are born to have freedom, then we in turn need to consider how we need to use our freedom as well as whether such freedom placed any obligation on us or are we entirely free to do as we please? Many nations, tribes and regions have additional laws or cultural traditions which require those exercising their freedom to do so responsibly and with consideration for others.
¡@¡@So, right now, it's very popular to talk about human rights in China, much like young people talk recklessly about love (they can do whatever they like, love anybody at anytime). This distorts the whole concept of human rights and prevents the entire concept from being holistically understood.
¡@¡@Usually, when Europe, the US, or Japan judge things coming from China or Singapore or other countries like them, they do not take into consideration the governmental system or culture there. Instead, they talk from an absolute point of view on human rights and freedom, which makes them become much bigger. These don't talk about the differences in culture, history and the region.
¡@¡@So, when we ask about human rights and freedom in China, we need to take a look at recent history. According to political observers, if we just observe the changes in China in the past 20 years there's a totally tremendous difference. 20 years ago was when the June 4th movement and the Tienanmen Square incident happened. When that happened, people felt there were no human rights in China then. But at that time, Deng Xiao-ping, the leader, had no other choice. What happened at Tienanmen square was amplified and distorted by the world media which said millions of students were killed. They took a news report and made a much larger story from it. Actually, it was only several hundred students who were killed. Most journalists couldn't get into Peking at that time to cover what happened.
¡@¡@The current Occupy Hong Kong movement is much like Tienanmen. At the beginning of both events, the focus was on love and peace, but quickly changed to violence and provocative acts against the police or military which came to control the situation. Soldiers get angry when things, especially flaming Molotov cocktails are thrown at them. In any sort of demonstration, inevitably there are troublemakers. They are less than 5% radicals but they create all the problems. When provocative acts happen, soldiers can get killed and some were killed. Even before the June 4thTienanmen Square incident the army fought back with guns and some students were killed.
¡@¡@Some of the students who had very strong determination wanted to be martyrs, which is what happened to them. The students in Tienanmen Square were told the army was coming well before it arrived. Most of the students left the square. The army cleared the square before the tanks went through. In the iconic photos of the tanks in the square, they were rolling over empty tents, not students.
¡@¡@President Xi knows how to make use of the power of religion to help people to maintain peace. He is not opposed to the spreading of Christianity. He objects to the spread of Catholicism because it is controlled by a foreigner (the Pope in Rome) and the fact that the Roman Catholic church has so many riches (so it is corrupt). He wants to have a Chinese Catholic church instead.
¡@¡@The Chinese government has promised to build churches, just like it promises to rebuild Taoist temples or other local temples. It's a local issue.
¡@¡@Some people are too rigid and see things in a contradictory way.
¡@¡@However, there is freedom of speech in China. On the Weibo internet site there people can talk about anything, even to the extent of scolding the government. But there needs to be more social structures to teach people to use freedoms responsibly. It would be preferable if this were done through traditional family education and social education. However, media loves to cover sensationalistic stories of extravagance and corruption and stories of people becoming fabulously wealthy overnight without any effort. These are not good models for teaching the responsible use of human rights.
Nov. 8, 2014
Chi Kung Culture Society of TAIPEI