Thoughts on International Human Rights Day: Do People in China Have the Same Rights as Other People?

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Human rights are the basic rights of human beings. Naturally, everyone has them. Westerners have them. People in China should have them too. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has declared that human rights in China must take the "special state situation" into consideration and that it absolutely does not allow anyone to "impose western human rights standards on China."

I have been puzzled by one question: Since China has a so-called "special state situation" and refuses "western human rights standards," then how does China define "Chinese human rights standards"?

In fact, the so-called "western human rights standards" are the basic content of the United Nations charter on human rights, and include stipulations that everyone has freedoms at birth and are equal in dignity and rights. Torture, humiliation and persecution must be forbidden.

The biggest difference between human beings and animals is that human beings have the ability to reason, have human language to express themselves, and have complex social activities. Human rights include the freedom of belief, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. No one should be able to be deprived of these basic human rights due to his thoughts, belief, or race.

What the CCP calls "imposing western standards of human rights on China" is in reality simply the extension of these basic human rights to the people of China, so that they might enjoy the same basic freedoms enjoyed by most of the rest of the people in the world.

However, corrupt Chinese officials, claiming to be civil servants, seem to disagree with this, thinking that Chinese people don't deserve rights equal to those enjoyed by Westerners. Instead, they think that Chinese people only deserve to enjoy the "right to live."

Another feature of "western human rights standards" is that human rights are granted at birth. As long as you are a human being, you should have these basic human rights, the right to food, speech and thought. These basic human rights are not "bestowed" by some party or some body. When people don't have human rights, it must be the privileged power class and interest groups that have deprived the people of them.

The excuse that the CCP leaders use for stressing the point that Chinese people only deserve the right to live (often alternatively translated as the "right to survive") is that they argue that human rights need to evolve through a process of development. Since China is poor, China can only "bestow" the right to live. As China develops, it can gradually "bestow" luxurious rights such as the freedom of belief and freedom of speech that are already enjoyed by Westerners. It's as though someone dictates the thought and speech of other people under the excuse that, "You are still poor, so you do not deserve these luxuries. I will return your rights to you when you have a higher social status."

Since China is poor, it is very important to return basic human rights to people. China's purchase of facilities to filter and monitor the Internet, paying Internet police, abducting Falun Gong practitioners, arresting and blocking civilians who appeal--these are all expensive activities.

December 10th is International Human Rights Day. Skimming through all the major websites of China's official agencies, the highlighted news reports were all praising how the CCP "made constant progress" in the aspect of human rights and put articles protecting human rights into law.

However, having laws doesn't mean there is rule of law. For instance, the 610 Office headed by Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Li Lanqing, and Zhou Yongkang is still above the law. This is an administrative branch specialised in dealing with Falun Gong practitioners. To those law enforcement personnel, orders from the 6-10 Office have absolute authority over the laws.

According to news reports by the Falun Gong website Clearwisdom, on the 26th of August police detained Falun Gong practitioner Song Zhenling from Huazhuang Village, Lutai Township, Huaiyang County, Henan Province and his wife Wang Guijin and ransacked their homes many times, which eventually forced them to become homeless--all this because they practise Falun Gong. Police arrested Mrs. Wang again and locked her up in Huaiyang Detention Centre. When they found out she was pregnant they released her. The County 6-10 Office instructed Lutai Police Substation to monitor Ms. Wang. According to the present regulations on arrest and detention, a lactating woman should not be arrested and detained. Alternatively, she could be released on bail while awaiting trial or be placed under house arrest. The director of Lutai Substation, Dai Zhengyun, was afraid he would not be able to torture Ms. Wang after she gave birth to the child, so he had the idea of forcing her to abort her baby, using birth control as the excuse. Ms. Wang resisted this persecution, but several police pressed down on her belly to force the baby out, killing the baby in the process. Four police closely watched Ms. Wang 24 hours a day in the County Birth Plan Technical Guidance Station. Police were waiting for her one-month recovery period to end so they could take her back to the detention centre for further torture.

Similar things happen every day in China. The police tricked 32-year old practitioner Ms. Li Shuhua from Yushu City of Jilin Province to accompany them to the police station on the 24th of September to write something. She died bitterly in prison 16 days later. Her left eye was caved in, her eye socket was blue, and her whole body was covered in red spots. Autopsy revealed that her belly was full of blood and water. Her husband Yang Zhanjiu, who was detained at the same time, heard his wife's bitter crying when being beaten by the guards. (Yang Zhanjiu was later sentenced to seven years' in prison. He is now detained in Sipin Prison in Jilin Province.) The police said privately that Li Shuhua was killed as a witness after she had being beaten to the point of being blind.

As long as the illegal 6-10 Office exists, there will be no rule of law in China. The so-called human rights protections that exist in Chinese law are just a piece of cloth used to conceal shame.

The CCP's official state-run news on International Human Rights day spoke of their anger about American soldiers abusing Iraq's prisoners of war. The CCP is therefore aware that torture and abuse should not take place. These are things that should be opposed by the world's people. Then why did Chinese leaders ignore the torture and murder suffered by Chinese people even after seeing it for the past 50 years? Are Chinese people inferior to Iraqi people in the eyes of leaders? After birth, are Chinese people not equal to other people? Shouldn't the rights of Chinese people be equal to those of others across the globe?

Written on International Human Rights Day - December 10th, 2004

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