Equality and mutual respect needed in human rights dialogue
September 01,2014   By:peopledaily.com.cn

Jun. 24, 2013 -- In recent years, exchanges and dialogue between different countries in the field of human rights have seen an increase. China has established dialogue and consultation mechanisms on the subject with nearly 20 countries or institutions - a positive step towards promoting the healthy development of the cause of human rights across the globe.

Due to their diverse historical backgrounds, cultural traditions and stages of development, different countries face different challenges. This disparity is particularly evident in comparing developing countries and developed countries; each of these groups gives priority to different factors in the improvement of human rights, and this results in different views on the issue. Constructive dialogue can help enhance mutual understanding and promote common progress through exchanges and mutual learning.

However, the prospects of success in this of dialogue and exchange are not helped by the attitudes and practices of some Western countries, who too often display a sense of moral superiority, act like an international police force, and spend too much time pointing the finger at other countries' shortcomings.

In genuine dialogue, both sides treat each other as equal partners, and both sides listen to what the other has to say. Only on the basis of equality and mutual respect can both sides communicate frankly, so as to deepen understanding and learn from each other.

Another major source of problems in human rights exchanges is the double standards applied by some western countries in their approach to the matter.

They pursue a philosophy of tolerance towards their own defects, while always being ready to judge others against the strictest of standards; they remain silent about their own human rights issues, or evade them on the pretext that their own political, social and judicial mechanisms have no shortcomings. They seize upon non-existent flaws on the part of other countries, and use them as the basis of condemnation of those countries' record on human rights.

The truth is that every country has a duty to promote its own human rights, and a right to set up its own mechanisms. Western countries should address themselves to their own problems, and stop pretending that their mechanisms are a universal panacea. The global financial crisis serves as an effective example of the deficiencies of some Western mechanisms and systems – a fact that has not escaped the attention of numerous scholars.

The double standards of the Western countries are particularly apparent in the case of countries which are allies, or sympathetic to their interests. In such cases, even the poorest record on human rights will be selectively ignored. Another standard applied by the West in judging whether a dialogue has been 'successful' is the extent to which the discussion 'partner' has been coerced into adopting western concepts.

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