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YANG Xiejiao New Strategy for the Development of Human Rights: Relationship between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Right to Development
September 18,2015   By:chinahumanrights.org

YANG Xiejiao

New Strategy for the Development of Human Rights: Relationship
between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Right to Development

In the shadows of world economic recession and debt crisis, the human rights situation in the United States has witnessed lots of misdeeds. With actions violating human rights going rampant, the development of human rights has been greatly hindered. The proposal of China’s Belt and Road Initiative has presented a blueprint of win-win cooperation for the development of economy, society and human rights of Eurasia. The initiative to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has promptly gained the welcome of countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. And even the United Kingdom, the big ally of the US, joined the Bank, despite US pressure and opposition. The “Declaration on the Right to Development” points out that “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China will drive the common development of society and economy in the Eurasian countries. As an inexorable trend, it is a new strategy to promote the development of human rights.

IV New leapfrog development of human rights.

China has always attached importance to the right to development. In our view, the right to development has broken through the traditional concept of human rights as a result of years of fighting by the international community, and is of great significance. In order to safeguard the development of our people's economic, political and cultural rights, and promote China’s economic and social development, the Chinese government has made feasible development strategies based on specific national conditions. Some Western countries use the human rights issue to promote their values, ideology, political criteria and mode of development, make irresponsible remarks on China and interfere in China’s internal affairs with the excuse of “human rights.” This is simply a demonstration of hegemony and power politics. While violating the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, it also undermines the right to development of 1.3 billion Chinese people. This just proves that their understanding of “human rights” is false, self-centered and driven by ulterior motives.

As an ancient saying goes, “The relationship between countries lies in the friendship of their peoples, and the friendship of their peoples lies in the connectivity of their people’s hearts.” As the overall landscape of China’s diplomacy, Silk Road diplomacy calls for long-term management, careful planning and proper operation. And the “understanding between our people” is particularly critical. Public diplomacy needs to deal with the “understanding between our people” among the “five connectivity” in the construction of the two Silk Roads. The ancient Silk Road made countries along it good neighbors, friends and partners. “Close friends and neighbors help each other and live in harmony.” China sticks to being a good neighbor and good partner, and making its neighbors stable, secure and rich. Actively promoting the idea of “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness,” China aims to dock its development with that of countries along the Belt and Road through Silk Road diplomacy, dock the Chinese Dream with other countries’ dreams to live a better life, offer benefits and driving force for countries along the lines through its development, and also benefit from its common development with these countries.

To grasp the direction of public opinion, and lead the discourse of human rights development, the key lies in speaking with facts, rather than a scientific theory. China’s reform and opening-up is the biggest innovation of the world today. As an all-round opening-up strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative stresses the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, which has transcended foreign assistance and the “going global” strategy.” With the economic corridor theory, economic belt theory, 21st century international cooperation theory, regional cooperation theory, and globalization theory, the Belt and Road Initiative has created the new model for the globalized cooperation in the 21st century, and shaped the new landscape of the development of human rights, which has gained a big say in human rights development.

The building of the Belt and Road includes the building of both hard power and soft power. It may encounter questions of accommodation and docking with existing cooperation frameworks of countries and regions along the lines, as well as the doubt and even damage of forces inside and outside of this region. Therefore, we must adopt brand new approaches in its implementation, realize the “five connectivity” through innovative ways in order to ensure long-term effectiveness, and materialize the initiative with great success.
Looking to the future, under the guidance of the major strategic arrangements of the Belt and Road Initiative, if countries along the lines, under the theme of peace and development of today’s world, sail in one boat towards the same direction, and restore the win-win cooperation and glory of the ancient Silk Road, then the development of world peace and human rights will be highly fruitful.

(The author is Professor of Law School of Zhejiang University of Technology.)