Thursday, April 28, 2011

Irony of Western human rights agenda

The following link points to an opinion piece that appeared in China Daily recently and authored by an American "investigative journalist"

The author argues that America's constant haranguing of China over it's human rights record is "ironical" in as much as, he argues, the US's record relating to human rights both within it's own borders and internationally reads far worse than China's.

The question of human rights, of who is the sinner and who is the saint, is unanswerable. There appears, in my mind, to be no qualitative or quantitative criteria on which to judge. There are so many variables, so many imponderables.

History, culture, economics, environment, education, religious values et, el. A veritable blackhole to peer into and fathom the depth and measure of the issues at hand.

There is no beginning and no end, it has to be, and always will be, a work in progress, a journey not a destination.

Yes, I can put on one hat and argue that China is the devil incarnate. I can change hats and argue similarly about the US and any other country or regime in the world.

The question about human rights is; have we witnessed progress over time?

Are we seeing a China that is different now than it was a short ten years ago when I first started looking at this issue of human rights?

The answer to me is an emphatic yes. There has been great leaps forward made by China and that is what we should be looking at.

We should be using what the Chinese themselves use to such great effect the "carrot and the stick"

In other words we in the west should offer the carrot first and only produce the stick as a last resort.

Also, we should not mix human rights issues in every instance of our relationship with China.

How many times have I read of some delegation or other going to China on some mundane issue, say of bi-lateral horticultural talks, to hear the western delegates being quizzed on how they will raise the issue of human rights, or a delegate saying "we will discuss wheat germination but only after we raise Tibet."

Let us pursue the issue of human rights wherever and whenever they are impinged, but let us do it sensibly in a spirit of co-operation on what is a never ending jouney for all countries and all of us..

Link: Irony of Western human rights agenda

No comments: