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Human Rights: Signal of Human Beings from Necessity to Freedom
September 19,2016   By:CSHRS
Human Rights: Signal of Human Beings from Necessity to Freedom
 
SUNGuohua*
 
The issue of human rights is one of the essential issues in modern political life and state life. The term “human rights”, as it is so called, refers to the rights of human beings, dealing with the questions arising during the process of human beings from necessity to freedom. 
 
The key to master the concept of human rights is how to define the rights. In accordance with the Marxism theory, rights in law are the confirmation of rights in fact, which depends in the end upon the social material living condition limits the political and cultural development which in turn influences human value concept together with economic development. Different interests decide the difference of value concept, which because of limitation by certain interests, affirms as rights the actions fit to the value concept, that is, regard as justified. The word “right” is “jus” in Latin and “Recht” in German, embodying such concepts as. In another words, rights are confirmation of the value of freedom and mode of action in certain social material living condition as fair, just, right, correct, which is justified.Therefore, we may define human rights as a kind of qualification and advantage of certain subject and as action or freedom of action justified by certain social sense and social norm which is always related to interest of certain subject and guaranteed by relevant obligation of other people. Human rights are value confirmation of action and freedom of action of human beings, a signal of human beings from necessity to freedom.
 
The issue of the right of a person is in fact the issue of the status of a person in social life. This issue is very important and also very complex. It is a legal issue, and yet it is not only a legal issue, but can also be regarded as economic, political, cultural and social issues. Basically, it is an issue of a social system. The nature and scope of human rights depend upon historical stages of human development and upon economic living condition of human beings in the end; that is, the production relationship which fits a certain level of productivity. So, to solve the issues of human rights requires naturally the solution of political and legal issues, and yet in the end the solution of such issues as the issue of social system, the issue of how the productivity fits the production relationship, and the issue of freeing and developing productivity. At different historical stages, people had different human rights requirements, which are usually closely related with the requirement of productivity development. 
 
Marxism believes that freedom is the recognition of necessity and reform in an objective world.1Human history is the history of gradual development from necessity to freedom, which never ends.2The development process of humanhistory is one of people from necessity to freedom; that is, from no freedom, to a little freedom and to more freedom. Therefore, the nature of perfection of human rights which illustrates human freedom is the process for people to go from necessity to freedom. The reason why human rights are so strongly attractive and popular is just that human rights show the progress of human society and the signal of human beings to be free. 
 
In accordance with the above discussion, whether human rights can be improved and whether such improvement could be achieved depends on two conditions: the material living condition, and the political and cultural condition which is decided by the material living condition. Such material living condition provides freedom for people to take certain actions, while the political and cultural condition affirms these actions as a kind of right. Therefore, realization of human rights is limited by material living condition and by political and cultural condition as well. 
 
It is an inner requirement of a socialist system to affirm, protect and develop human rights. After New China was established, especially after reform and opening up, human rights causes of China achieveda great historic leap. “Respect and protection of human rights by the State” has been written in the Constitution. People’s right to survival, right to development, and other economic, political, social and cultural rights have been perfected immensely by way of expansion and deepening. In the aspect of economic right, China’s GDP is now among the highest in the world and the people’s living level is still in increase. In the aspect of political right, people are the masters of the country, participating in the political life and expressing their own will so that the social democratic process proceeds rapidly. One of the most important goals in comprehensively pushing governing China by law and constructing legal China is to maintain people’s interests and thoroughly protect human rights. Taking protection of human rights of most people as the task, socialist laws extensively affirm and effectively protect human rights through the socialist legal system and political system at the legislative, enforcement, and judicial stages, such as the Constitution, Election Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedural Law, Administrative Procedural Law, and State Compensation Law. 
 
Yet, what cannot be denied is that the difference in people’s ability to enjoy and exercise rights is expanding and the issue of the polarization between the rich and poor attracts more attention. Thus, we believe that development is the tool. The societywhich always goes on in thecontradiction and the task of respecting and protecting human rights will always be there to fulfill.
 
The issue of human rights is not simply national law issue but also related to international law. The human rights provisions of the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other declarations and conventions seek for betterment of human rights issues. As discussed above, human rights issues illustrate the value of certain groups and classes,and discussion around the topic is in fact the conflict between different groups and classes in value concept. Such conflict shows different claims in interest and, in the end, the basic requirement of certain social systems.
 
China is strongly against imposition by the western countries of their values on people of other countries with the banner of humanity for their own interests, or interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the guise of human rights issues. At the meantime, China hopes to better human rights cooperation and exchange, seeking common ground while reserving differences to improve the development of human rights causes together on the basis of equality and mutual respect. 
 
(translated by Sha Lijin)
 
* SUNGuohua, Professor of Law School of Renmin University of China.
1. Marx Engels Selected Works, Volume 3, People’s Press, 1995, p. 153.
2. Ibid.