Human Rights, China, and Cross-cultural Inquiry: Philosophy, History, and Power Politics

Human Rights, China, and Cross-cultural Inquiry: Philosophy, History, and Power Politics COMMENT AND DISCUSSION Human Rights, China, and Cross-Cultural Inquiry: Philosophy, History, and Power Politics Randall Peerenboom School of Law, University of California at Los Angeles Stephen Angle's Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) is a wonderful book that combines philosophically sophisticated discussions of controversial human-rights issues with a detailed intellectual history of the evolution of human-rights discourse in China over the last several hundred years. I will use Angle's book as a platform for consideration of a number of issues regarding the role of philosophy, history, and power politics in relation to human rights in China and elsewhere. Angle focuses his discussion on two claims: first, that countries have different concepts of human rights, and second, that we ought not demand that countries comply with human-rights concepts different from their own.1 These two claims (or something similar) are central to China's official position on rights and to humanrights debates more generally, including the debate about values in Asia.2 Angle's response, in short, is that there are distinctive concepts of human rights in China, and that ``there have been both continuities and changes in the ways that rights have been conceptualized over Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Human Rights, China, and Cross-cultural Inquiry: Philosophy, History, and Power Politics

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