Human Rights – East versus West

July 24, 2010

The loudest voices for human rights originate in the West where the individual has more value than the whole. In China, the opposite is true. In China, the emphasis is on collective rights, which explains why China has the death penalty with the highest execution rate in the world.  The idea is to get rid of individual threats to the collective welfare.

Dr. Sun Yat-sin (1866 – 1925), who is celebrated in mainland China and in Taiwan as the father of modern China, said it best, “An individual should not have too much freedom. A nation should have absolute freedom.”

Interpreted, that means individuals in China will not have the level of freedoms as exercised in Western nations and even if China were to hold democratic elections, that situation will probably not change. Human rights in China does exist but from a collective point of view.

Joe Amon, writing in the Huffington Post, shows his ignorance of Chinese culture when he says, “But the government should be held to account for stifling the work and voices of Chinese AIDS activists and nongovernmental organizations.”

To work for change in China, one must understand the collective thought process of most Chinese.  If change is to take place, it must come from within China and it must be done from a collective point of view. In fact, it is culturally taboo to talk about HIV/AIDS in China since the Chinese seldom talk publicly about the so called white-elephant in the room anyway.

See Human Rights the Chinese Way


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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