Universal Human Rights? Essay

1932 Words 8 Pages
Throughout the years, the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter, the PRC) has remained notorious for its explicit defiance of international human right norms. These norms, codified in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter, the UDHR), define human rights to be “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” (The Universal Declaration). While this declaration seeks to cement a set of universal human rights in the international community, it fails to take into account the idea of cultural relativism and its effects on different cultural perspectives of human values. For the purpose of this essay the UDHR will be used to explicitly state instances where China has …show more content…
This misconception of a universal standard is rooted in the spread of popular western consumer goods globally, this does not always equate to the spreading of values, such as universal human rights. Samuel Huntington rejects these misconceptions in his article The West Unique, Not Universal stating “the argument that the spread of pop culture and consumer goods around the world represents the triumph of Western civilization depreciates the strength of other cultures while trivializing Western culture” (29). In actuality, the most distinct differences between the PRC and the West can be seen through their fundamental treatment of their people.
Despite the PRC having “pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (The Universal Declaration) it will be argued that in reality, they fail to adhere to these universal standards. The PCR’s ideology can best seen through the age-old sentiment that “man exists for the state rather than vice versa” (Donnelly 77), while the UNHR explicitly states in Article 21 that “[t]he will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” (The Universal Declaration). Donnelly argues that, “this Chinese conception of social order denies the very idea of human rights (77). It is because of this backward version of the idea that in order for a government to be considered legitimate, the
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