Reviews 559 Robert Weatherley. The Discourse of Human Rights in China: Historical and Ideological Perspectives. New York and London: St. Martin's Press, 1999. ix, 185 pp. Hardcover $59.95, ISBN 0312222815. Robert Weatherley traces the emergence and evolution of the Chinese conception of rights, outlining some of its main sources in Confucianism, Chinese Republicanism, and Marxism. He begins with a brief look at various theories of rights--as benefits or interests, as choices, as entitlements--in Western liberal thinking, and examines how human rights are the universal and absolute rights of individuals, founded on natural laws and the moral belief in the dignity of all human beings. Weatherley discusses disagreements by Western scholars over whether or not socioeconomic rights are human rights and what their relation may be to civil-political rights, and briefly summarizes some Western criticism of rights by Jeremy Bentham, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Weatherley argues that in contrast to liberal thinking, the Chinese state orthodoxy views rights not as a universal possession to which every individual is equally entitled, but as something granted by the state in return for a citizen's performance of her duties, according to class status as one of the people. Rights
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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