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The Human Rights Dimension in Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
April 27,2018   By:CSHRS
The Human Rights Dimension in Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
 
ZHANG Weihua*
 
Abstract: A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is China’s proposition to establish a fair and equitable international order. Just as in any other community, a Community with a Shared Future needs common values to bring its members together. To build a new model of relations featuring win-win cooperation, a Community with a Shared Future should attach great importance to the overall interests of mankind and consider the protection of human dignity and human rights as the highest purpose and objective, ensuring that in-evitably, human rights become its common values. On the other hand, to build a Community with a Shared Future, we should reconstruct the concept and system of human rights from the perspective of developing countries, instead of from the perspective of Western powers.
 
Keywords: a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind    Human Rights    Right to Development
 
At the general debate of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech titled “Working To-gether to Forge a New Partnership of Win-Win Cooperation and build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.” His speech at the United Nations Office in Gene-va on January 28, 2017, was similarly titled “Working Together to Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.” In both statements, he elaborated on his proposal that all countries work together to build a Community with a Shared Future for Man-kind. At present, the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind has been listed in multiple resolutions of several United Nations agencies. For example, on March 23, 2017, the 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council en-dorsed two resolutions on “economic, social and cultural rights” and “food rights” that included the proposal to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.1
 
This article aims to show that the cohesive effect of common values is indispens-able for forging a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, and reviews the effect of human rights principles on the development and evolution of international relations after World War II, demonstrating the inevitability and rationality of human rights being considered the common values for a community with a shared future for Mankind. Further, we will elaborate on the proposition of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind as a new theory for international relations.
 
Ⅰ. Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind Re-quires Common Values
 
Whether it is a family, a village, a nation, or the international community, any kind of grouping requires shared beliefs to bind them together. Since ancient times, societies have been held together by common values.
 
With respect to the modern international society, the signing of the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 was an epoch-making event in modern international relations. Following this, a single sovereign country was considered as the basic unit of the international society.2 Principles such as the inviolability of sovereignties, the neces-sity of complying with treaties and the peaceful settlement of international disputes, were included and embodied in the Peace Treaty of Westphalia. They were reinforced repeatedly in important international documents later, becoming the core values of the international community. Among these important international documents are the Final Act of Congress of Vienna, which was passed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, ending the Napoleonic Wars; the Covenant of the League of Nations, which was passed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 marking the end of World War I, and the United Nations Charter, which was passed at the San Francisco Conference in 1945 marking the end of World War II. These important international documents include important values such as respect for basic human rights, dignity and values, the equali-ty of sovereign states, the necessity of complying with treaties, the peaceful settlement of international disputes, the prohibition on the use of force or threat by force, non-in-terference in the internal affairs of other countries, and the obligation of countries to cooperate with one another. These clauses are not only the values acknowledged by all countries, but they are also the basic principles of International Law. Some of the principles have even directly become or have been developed into peremptory norms of International Law.
 
The values mentioned above have been gradually shared by all countries, and they now constitute the common values of the international community. However, the belief was that international law of the 19th Century was developed based on Eu-rope-centrism and thus mainly reflected the values of European countries rather than demands and interests of newly independent countries in the mid and late 20th Cen-tury. These new independent countries believed that the regulations and laws encour-aged and reflected their servile position, and thus, they had to be changed. The content of the laws and regulations were from the perspective of Western powers, which prevailed in the 19th Century, and this was not acceptable to developing countries. As developing countries wanted to safeguard state sovereignty and equality among states as well as ensure principles of non-aggression and non-interference, they sought their safety and development within the framework of International Law, which has been widely acknowledged. The universality of International Law has been significantly enhanced since World War II. Furthermore, International Law now includes content that reflects the demands of newly independent countries. For example, the Declara-tion on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples that was adopted in 1960 solemnly declares that all people have the right to self-determination. Despite the disputes on the connotation and denotation of the principle of the right to self-de-termination, most International Law scholars consider it as an established principle of International Law.3
 
Since the foundation of the United Nations, based on a broad consensus of the above common values, international society has tried to bring about more thorough and closer cooperation, avoiding massive wars like the two world wars, and worked on creating prosperity unprecedented in human history. Nonetheless, the new century has brought all kinds of problems. At the United Nations Office at Geneva, Presi-dent Xi Jinping pointed out during his speech that, “The world economy is growing sluggishly, and the financial crisis continues to trouble us. The development gaps are becoming increasingly prominent, and wars erupt from time to time. The Cold War mentality and power politics persist, and non-traditional security threats such as ter-rorism, refugee crises, epidemics, climate change, etc. continue to spread”.4 Mankind has reached a stage where there are successive challenges and growing risks.
 
China has proposed building a Community with a Shared Future for humanity. We can see that “the world structure is in a historic process where evolution is ac-celerated,” and we believe that “the sunshine of peace, development, and progress is strong enough to penetrate the shadow of war, poverty, and regressive influences.” We are working hard to remedy the inherent defects of the current international system, which are based on Western civilization. Our country acknowledges the diversity of the world’s civilizations, and advocates “peace with countries”, “harmony in diver-sity” and “maintaining harmony”. We aim for values that can be accepted by every-one, weaving a spiritual bond for wider and deeper cooperation among Mankind. At the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015, President Xi Jinping stated that, “Peace, development, equity, justice, and freedom are common values of Mankind as well as the noble goal of the United Nations. We are far from achieving the goal as yet and so we still need to work hard… We should inherit and promote the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, build new international rela-tions whose core is win-win cooperation, and forge a Community with a Shared Fu-ture for Mankind.”5 Xi’s words emphasized the significance of value goals including “peace, development, equity, justice and freedom”, on building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. Common values are the necessary link and basis required by any large community. Without common values, the community is like a flimsy building by the sea shore, which may collapse at any moment.
 
As the proposed a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind would bind together all people around the world, it naturally requires common values to create those bonds. Human rights values are indispensable in the values required for building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.
 
Ⅱ. Human Rights are the Common Values Required to Build a Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind
 
Human rights are the common values required to build a Community with a Shared Future for humanity. It is a historical revelation as well as a realistic requirement.
 
As early as World War II, the international society noticed the significance of hu-man rights and basic freedoms in maintaining international peace and security as well as building a fairer international order. On January 1, 1942, the allies including China published the Declaration of the United Nations, pointing out that “complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious free-dom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands.” World War II was a catastrophe that pushed the international society to avoid its recurrence. All countries were motivated to build a binding international system for human rights protection.
 
In this context, there were multiple negotiations on the postwar international or-der, which were held towards the end of World War II, and in these, the United States advocated regarding human rights as the basis of building new international organi-zations. However, the United Kingdom was intent on maintaining its colonial policy, and it strongly objected to discussions on human rights, reasoning that international society’s focus on human rights may cause new international organizations to use it as an excuse to interfere in internal affairs of its colonies. The Soviet Union’s delegation did not object to human rights being the basis for building new international organiza-tions, but it maintained that human rights were unrelated to the major task of the security organizations under discussion. Due to this negotiation, the United States agreed to place a somewhat secondary role of human rights in the United Nations Charter instead of insisting on giving them a primary role.6 Eventually, the United Nations Charter included seven clauses related to human rights. For example, in the preface, there is a declaration that, “The people of the United Nations have the same determi-nation, … reiterate basic human rights, dignity and values, as well as faith in equal rights between men and women and equal rights among all countries.” In Subsection 3 of Article 1 of the first chapter “Purpose and Principle”, there is a declaration that one of the three major purposes of the United Nations was to “promote international coop-eration to solve international problems, which belong to the categories of the econo-my, society, culture and human welfare, as well as enhance and encourage respect for human rights and basic freedom of mankind, regardless of race, gender, language or religion.” Besides, there were five other clauses which stipulated the duties and obligations of the United Nations, member countries and major organizations of the Unit-ed Nations to accomplish the above purposes and goals.7 These clauses later became the basis of the Charter’s mechanism for international human rights protection.
 
The appearance of human rights clauses in the United Nations Charter signified that human rights had entered the arena of International Law and was now under the purview of the international society. Human rights concepts have been gradually accepted by more and more countries, and human rights principles have gradually become the basic norms of international relations. In addition, the United Nations Charter provided a legal basis for the United Nations to formulate and compile the International Human Rights Law. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as well as the International Convention for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Convention for Civil Rights and Political Rights in 1966, came into existence. These three important international human rights documents are collectively referred to as “International Charter of Human Rights.” The preface to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “ignorance and vilification of human rights have led to brutal atrocities, which defiled mankind’s conscience. The advent of a world where everyone enjoys freedom of speech and belief and is free from fear and scarcity has been declared the highest desire of common people.” This showed that the human rights concept had become deeply entrenched among the people. Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made a further stipulation, “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.” The prefaces of both conventions in 1966 clearly declared that, “According to the principles declared in the United Nations Charter, the acknowledgement of inherent dignity and equal and abiding rights of all members of mankind, is the basis of world freedom, justice, and peace.” This statement reiterated that acknowledging and protecting human rights was the basis of an international order, which was “free, just and peaceful”. These claus-es fully highlighted the guiding position and effect of human rights in the process of building a new international order.
 
However, during the Cold War, for a long time after the foundation of the United Nations, the United Nations Charter was limited to “promoting” human rights rather than taking effective action. The United Nations Charter, which propounded its pur-poses and principles of promoting international cooperation to enhance and encour-age respect for human rights and basic freedom of Mankind, failed to be effectively implemented for a long time. There were massive flagrant violations of human rights. Poverty, famines, and plagues still raged on. Disadvantaged groups such as women, children, the elderly, and ethnic (racial) and religious minorities were still discriminat-ed against, and their rights and freedom continued to remain infringed. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was an upsurge in the independence struggle in colonial countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The United Nations General Assembly successively endorsed the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and
 
Peoples in 1960, Declaration on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources in 1962, and Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty in 1965. It made great efforts to promote the process of decolonization and further established the prin-ciple of the right to self-determination. From April 22 to May 13, 1968, the United Nations held the International Conference on Human Rights in Tehran, to review the progress that had been made in the 20 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was endorsed, and to draw up a future action plan. The Proclamation of Tehe-ran was passed at the Conference, where “faith in the principles contained in the Uni-versal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents, in this arena” was reiterated and all nations and governments were urged to commit to upholding the principles advocated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and work harder “to enable mankind to enjoy a life that accords freedom and dignity and is beneficial to the mind, body, social and spiritual welfare”.
 
After the 1970s, many developing countries that were newly independent became increasingly aware of the inequity of the old international order. In particular, the old international economic order severely hampered the progress of developing countries. Therefore, these third-world developing countries initiated a surging struggle to build a new international economic order. On May 1, 1974, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Declaration on the Establishment of A New International Economic Order, solemnly declaring that all countries should resolve to “make efforts to build a new international economic order, and this order will be built on the basis of justice, sovereign equality, mutual dependence, common interests and cooperation of all countries.” The declaration stated that “Over the recent decades, the greatest and most important achievement that has taken place is that a large number of nations and countries have become independent by freeing themselves from colonial and foreign domination. Thus, they have become members of the big family of free nations.” “The irreversible changes in world powers make it necessary for developing countries to ac-tively, fully and equally participate in formulating and implementing all decisions re-lated to the international big family.” Therefore, “the interests of developed countries and developing countries can no longer be completely separated, and prosperity of developed countries is closely related to growth and progress of developing countries. Further, the entire international society’s prosperity depends on every component that goes to create it. Carrying out international cooperation and seeking common devel-opment and progress is the inescapable goal and common obligation of all countries.” On December 2, 1974, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, declaring that one of the purposes of the charter is “promoting the establishment of a new economic order in all countries regardless of their economic and social systems, based on uniform justice, sovereign equality, mutual dependence, common interests and mutual cooperation.” Furthermore, along with multiple traditional principles such as sovereign equality, the basic principles of international economic relations listed in the declaration also included new principles such as “respect for human rights and basic freedom” and “implementing international cooperation to seek development.”
 
After the 1980s, the human rights concept was rooted more deeply in people’s awareness, while it has penetrated almost all spheres of international society. As the development issue of developing countries became increasingly integrated with hu-man rights issues, this became the just voice that demanded the right to development. On December 4, 1986, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Declara-tion on the Right to Development, defining development as “an overall process of the economy, society, culture and politics with the purpose of constantly improving the welfare of all people and individuals on the basis of active, free and meaningful par-ticipation of all people and individuals in development, and equitable distribution of interests that it brings.” It emphasized that “people are the subject of the development process.” Thus, “development policies should make people the main participant and beneficiary of development.” It declared that “the right to development is an inalien-able human right.” The declaration confirmed some principles that have been clearly interpreted in the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding international peace and security, and implementing international coopera-tion for development, acknowledging that all people are born free and equal in dig-nity and rights. It also considers people’s right to self-determination and the right to request a social and international order where the rights and freedom contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be fully realized. The Declaration on the Right to Development explicitly requested that development should be implemented in a manner such that “all human rights and basic freedom can be fully realized.” The declaration invited all people to “participate in development in an active, free and meaningful way,” and emphasized that “equitable distribution of the interests” of de-velopment must be guaranteed, regardless of “distinctions of race, gender, language and religion.”
 
Since the Cold War ended, great changes have taken place in the international structure. While the structure of East-West confrontation became obsolete, making it possible to implement comprehensive and thorough international cooperation, global-ization has created a significant opportunity momentarily, although the distribution of benefits generated by it is still uneven, and so are the prices paid by all sides. There-fore, people all around the world want to build a new and fairer international order. As President Xi Jinping has incisively said, “In the first half of the last century, people suffered from two world wars, hence, that generation had an urgent desire to be free from war and to make peace. In the 1950s and 1960s, colonial people were awakened by a strong voice that called for throwing off the yoke and fighting for independence. After the Cold War, the most eager demand from all sides was to expand cooperation for mutual development.”8 In this historical context, our country has proposed a new international relations theory to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. It can be considered as the newest view for developing countries and a suggestion for a new world order, inheritance, and promotion of long-term efforts of these develop-ing countries in establishing a new international economic order and development, as well as China’s theoretical contribution as the world’s largest developing country to achieving the comprehensive development of developing countries.
 
From a historical perspective, the proposal to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, the process of establishing a new international economic order and the Declaration on the Right to Development can be traced to the same origin. A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind not only inherits and promotes the efforts of developing countries to strive for a fair and equitable international order and seek development, but also reflects and absorbs the broad consensus and demands of the international society after the Cold War. The process of developing countries pro-moting the establishment of a new international economic order enables development issues, (especially those of developing countries) to enter the core agenda of the inter-national society. Besides, this process emphasizes that mutual dependence, common interests, and cooperation of all countries including developed countries and develop-ing countries as the basis of the new international economic order. Thus, it can be said that the new international economic order is the ideological origin of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. However, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is the continuation and development of developing countries’ struggles for a fair and equitable international order in the new century. The core concept of the Declaration on the Right to Development is to create an environment that is conducive to development and supports everyone’s enjoyment of their development rights. The right to development provides a framework to help people eliminate the defects and limitations in responsibility, accountability and regulations in national and global gov-ernance. This right places a particular emphasis on obligations, especially the interna-tional society’s obligation to cooperate. It is conducive to the participation of multiple stakeholders, which is emphasized by modern governance at all levels, as well as the appearance of multiple subjects and forms of global partnership. It is another import-ant ideological origin of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. The history and ideological origins, which are related to the right to self-determination and right to development, showcase the close relationship between a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind and the human rights principles.
 
Moreover, current human rights principles have become common values accept-ed by Mankind, and any theory of international relations, including the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, should have human rights as its basic philosophy and purpose. In the preamble to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, there is a declaration that the “promotion and protection of human rights is a priority for the international community” and that “major changes are taking place in the international arena and people are eager to establish an international order, based on the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. This includes the promotion and encouragement of respect for human rights and fundamental free-doms for all, respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people, and achievement of peace, democracy, justice, equality, the rule of law, pluralistic development, better standards of living and solidarity”. The United Nations Millenni-um Declaration of 2000 holds that “respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development” is imperative.
 
On September 16, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Outcome of the World Summit, reaffirming that “our common fundamental values, including freedom, equality, solidarity, inclusion, respect for all human rights, respect for nature and shared responsibility, are extremely important for international relations.” Further, there was a renewed commitment toward the active protection and promotion of all human rights, the rule of law and democracy, recognizing that they are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations. In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustain-able Development adopted the Future We Want, declaring that “people are the center for sustainable development.” Therefore, any new theory of international relations must focus on respecting and promoting human rights and the fundamental freedoms for all as its objective and purpose. China’s proposal to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is an effort to build such a new international order.
 
The essence of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind emphasizes on the interrelatedness of the future destiny of all human beings. Any state, nation or in-dividual’s well-being is interrelated and interdependent with the well-being of other states, nations, and individuals. The international community can only build a peace-ful, secure, prosperous, open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world by insisting on di-alogue and consultation, building and sharing, cooperation and mutual learning. This theory of international relations thereby has a natural affinity to human rights: The definition of human rights emphasizes that “human rights are rights because we are human beings,”9 indicating that all human beings are like us and that we should treat all as human beings. Only by recognizing this can humanity establish a community with a shared future.
 
Clearly, the human rights principles will become the common values of a Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind. However, the concept of human rights originated in Western civilization, and Western powers have consistently used human rights as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of developing countries. A Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind, as a new international order proposed by a rising developing power, must reflect the voices of developing countries and their demand for a fair, equitable and just international order. It is necessary to interpret human rights issues in such a way that it is conducive to safeguarding the interests of developing countries, and fully reflects their special interests and requirements in the field of human rights.
 
Ⅲ. Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind Should Reinterpret Human Rights
 
Since the second half of the last century, after traditional colonialism and impe-rialism had become notorious for their use of force and economic oppression, which are now considered to have been crimes under international law, political pressure, economic sanctions and armed intervention in the name of human rights have become a subtler form of interference in the internal affairs of developing countries making unrelenting efforts to strive for a more equal, fair and just national order.
 
Western countries, led by the United States, use the pretext of democracy and human rights to interfere in internal affairs of other countries, and even deliberately subvert the legitimate regimes of other countries, causing chaos in many parts of the world. For example, the Arab Spring, which was cheered on by the West in recent years, has not created Western-style democracies in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and neither has it brought peace and prosperity to those countries. On the contrary, these countries have been mired in prolonged unrest and even civil war that has led to large-scale humanitarian crises. The resulting problems of refugees and ter-rorism have had a serious impact on local security and social welfare in many Europe-an countries. Thus, the imposition of Western views on human rights by Western pow-ers, regardless of the local political, economic, social situation and traditional culture, will not promote respect for human rights or ensure their protection and realization, instead they will cause great damage to them.
 
This situation has raised strong resentment among developing countries. At the 36th Meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017, Ambassador Ma Chaoxu, representative of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, made a statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement of about 140 countries, includ-ing Russia, South Sudan, and China, stressing that “the current tendency towards politicization in the field of human rights remains serious, and the practice of naming and shaming, overt pressure and double standards continue to prevail.” To achieve a better life for people and realize the noble goal of “human rights for all”, Ma called on all parties to “engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights,” to promote the healthy and sustainable development of the international hu-man rights cause, and jointly build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. 10
 
The proposal to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind represents a new type of international relations theory that recognizes the diversity of world civ-ilization and emphasizes dialogue, cooperation, and win-win results. “The concept of human rights originated in the West, but for such a shared and public concept, histor-ical background does not imply privilege of interpretation. It would be undoubtedly contradictory to consider human rights to be universal and not exclusive, while con-currently regarding the right of interpretation of human rights as exclusive to the West. Since human rights are considered universally valid concepts, they must be open in theory as well as culture. If human rights can only be defined according to Western preferences and standards, they become local Western concepts and cannot be used to criticize other cultures.” Therefore, “human rights are not established but they are a public concept allowing dialogue and debate and can be reinterpreted and defined.”11 China has the responsibility to break the monopoly of individual western countries on human rights issues, actively promote a human rights perspective centered on the right to subsistence and the right to development, which is more aligned with the urgent needs of developing countries, and promote common development of all countries through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations.12 To achieve this, the human rights perspective of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind should be addressed as follows.
 
A. Properly handling the relationship between human rights and sovereignty
 
For hundreds of years, sovereign equality has always been an important norm that states govern their relations and the cardinal principle shared by the United Na-tions and all its organs and organizations. Sovereign equality lies in the fact that the sovereignty and dignity of all states, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, shall be respected, with no interference in their internal affairs, and that they have the right to choose their own social system and path of development.13 In the face of massive violations of human rights in some countries and regions, the western countries came up with the idea of “human rights above sovereignty” and humanitarian intervention, which have led to a conflict between national sovereignty and human rights protec-tion. How to deal with the relationship between the two is a big issue concerning world peace.
 
Without sovereignty, it is difficult to guarantee human rights effectively, and the ultimate value and aim of national sovereignty is to safeguard human rights. This con-clusion summarizes the experience of human rights protection since the establishment of modern China, but also adapts to the global trend of human rights protection devel-opment.14 From the perspective of modern international law, respect for and protection of human rights is the international obligation of sovereign states. The state has the obligation to protect human rights, and the protection of human rights depends on the state. The protection of human rights is both domestic and international. They are closely related and inseparable. A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is an inclusive theory of international relations that recognizes the diversity and the comple-mentary nature of the world’s civilizations, and can provide a broader framework for resolving conflicts over sovereignty and human rights. For example, the “responsibility to protect” doctrine upheld by certain Western powers contends that when a state is unable to protect its nationals from a humanitarian disaster, the international com-munity has a duty to intervene and protect its nationals. However, many developing countries have proposed the concepts of “responsibility in protection” and “responsible protection”, and pointed out the intervention of certain Western powers under the pre-text of fulfilling the “responsibility to protect”.
 
B. Properly handling the relationship between universality and specificity of human rights
 
The principle of universality of human rights refers to universality of the subject of human rights, universality of the content of human rights, and universality of the scope of application of human rights. According to this principle, all human rights and fundamental freedoms should be enjoyed by all people in all countries and regions.15 The specificity of human rights is generally understood as the fact that different coun-tries and regions, according to their own historical traditions, cultures, religions, val-ues, resources and economic factors, can use various methods to fully realize human rights, as long as they do not contradict fundamental principles that guarantee human rights, and they are not imposed on an arbitrary basis.16 The Chinese Confucian schol-ar Mencius pointed out: “The difference between things is objective.” The universal recognition of international human rights standards does not mean that views on hu-man rights are identical anytime, anyplace, in any country, among any people. While there is a general consensus among states on the protection of human rights, it is un-derstandable and permissible for states at different stages of development or with dif-ferent historical traditions and cultural backgrounds, to have a different understanding and practice of human rights.17
 
If we only emphasize the universality of human rights and do not recognize the specificity of human rights, the so-called “hegemony of human rights”, the hallmark slogan of which is “human rights above sovereignty”, will be established. Some West-ern countries believe that “in that name of human rights, they can ‘legally’ interfere, deter, and manipulate other countries, even going to the extent of waging war. In the-ory, human rights are indeed a universal principle that go beyond the national system, but they are used to protect the special interests of the United States, and the hege-monic skill is to ‘turn universality into specificity’, i.e., the United States has a special right of interpretation of universal values.”18
 
President Xi Jinping pointed out that “civilization needs harmony in diversity. Only with mutual respect, mutual learning, and harmonious coexistence in diversity can the world be rich, colorful, and thriving. Different civilizations embody the wis-dom and contributions of different ethnic groups. None of them is higher or better than the others. The dialogue between civilizations should not be excluded. Seek for communication, rather than replacement.”19 While developing global human rights, Western countries should abandon the mentality of orthodoxy and hegemony, and respect each other and exchange equality with developing countries, so that human rights can be truly promoted around the world.
 
C. Properly handling the relationship between the right to development of a country and the right to development of all humans
 
For a long time, the mainstream realist international relations theories in Western countries considered the international community as a “jungle”, emphasizing their power supremacy. This kind of bullying, “beggar-thy-neighbor” international relations theory in many countries and regions has directly caused long-term turmoil, trapping local people in the abyss of war and flight. “The real problem of the world is not the so-called ‘failed state’, but rather a ‘failed world’. If the world persists as a failed world, no country, even a large one, will be able to overcome its negative externalities and ensure security and development in a world that is uncoordinated and uncoopera-tive. Paradoxically, all states are aware that security and cooperation in the world are conditions for existence and development, but have not been taking them seriously enough. One of the reasons is that the common good of the world has always been less urgent than national interests, and that hegemonic countries have always tried to maintain their system of international exploitation.”20
 
During his visit to Africa in 2013, President Xi Jinping first raised the issue of the right concept of justice and interests, emphasizing strengthening solidarity and cooperation with developing countries, and advocating political justice and uphold-ing equality of treatment. Economically, he noted that we should adhere to mutual benefit and common development; we should pay attention to both righteousness and benefits, and uphold faith, friendship, justice, and morality. Regarding development, President Xi Jinping said, “Development is the first priority and it applies to all coun-tries,”21 but in the process of development, all countries should join hands and insist on win-win cooperation, instead of relying on beggar-thy-neighbor relations, to finally build a world of common prosperity.
 
“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, which is not only difficult to main-tain but also contrary to fairness and justice.”22 Ideally, human society needs to have equal opportunities for development and has to share the fruits of development so that everyone can develop in an all-round way and realize their full rights to develop-ment.23
 
D. Properly handling the relationship between “Human Rights Diplomacy” and equal dialogue
 
In his inaugural address in January 1977, President Jimmy Carter declared that the basic idea of American foreign policy was to defend human rights and that he wanted to make “fundamental human rights” the soul of US foreign policy. The cen-tral idea was that human rights should be the cornerstone of US foreign policy and the assessment of the human rights situation in other countries should be an important criterion for whether the United States should maintain good relations with them, and that efforts should be made to promote the United States’ ideological and socio-politi-cal system in other countries. The essence of “human rights diplomacy” is to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext and cover of human rights.
 
After the United States took the lead in pursuing a human rights foreign policy, other western countries also linked the human rights issue to relations among coun-tries and economic and trade relations, thus exerting pressure and influence on other countries. Politically, western countries spread and permeate their ideologies to de-veloping and socialist countries, by directly or indirectly supporting anti-government forces and the so-called “dissidents” within those countries. Civil strife has been incit-ed or introduced, forcing developing countries to reform according to the demands of the western countries, and to accept the values of “democracy”, “freedom” and “human rights” and the development model they advocate. Economically, western countries have used their comparative economic and technological advantages to pressurize de-veloping and socialist countries by attaching human rights conditions to economic as-sistance, most-favored-nation treatment, scientific and technological cooperation, and cultural exchanges. They have offered limited financial assistance to countries that have introduced reforms in accordance with their will, while suspending or cutting economic and technical cooperation or assistance to countries that have opposed their will. All this has been done in the name of “deterioration of the human rights situa-tion”, and includes economic sanctions and trade embargoes. Militarily, the increasing use of force by western countries to intervene in countries that they accuse of human rights violations has not only failed to solve the problem, but has even exacerbated the scourge of the country under intervention.
 
The Chinese government has always been firmly opposed to all forms of inter-vention in the name of human rights. At the same time, the Chinese government rec-ognizes the universal significance and noble value of human rights, and has no objec-tion toward dialogue on human rights issues on the basis of equality. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, “Consultation is an important form of democracy and should also be an important method of modern international governance, and we should advocate dialogue to resolve disputes so we can negotiate despite our differences.”24 All coun-tries should respect each other and treat each other as equals. Through dialogue and exchange, they should constantly enhance mutual understanding, broaden common ground, narrow differences, and jointly promote and protect human rights. Cultural diversity should be respected, public pressure and confrontation should be abandoned, human rights issues should not be politicized, and individual values should not be im-posed on others.
 
Ⅳ. Conclusion
 
China’s proposal to build a Community with a Shared Future for all humanity showcases a new type of international relations, a secure community, and a communi-ty of development and responsibility. It is a major theoretical innovation for compre-hensively building new international relations under the new circumstances. It shows that China has made the decision to participate positively in the international system, actively participate in global governance, advance the theoretical innovation of build-ing the international order, become an important and responsible member of the inter-national community, and be part of the community of world interest and a community with a shared future. Respecting human rights, upholding international morality and abiding by international law is the only way China can project its image as a respon-sible big country in the international community. A Community with a Shared Future for humanity is a kind of globalist view of the international order, whose value is based on humanity’s shared future and interests. In other words, integrity, coexistence and the common interests of human beings are the ethical and value support for the establishment and maintenance of international order. A Community with a Shared fu-ture for humanity must, therefore, make respecting, protecting and promoting human rights the supreme purpose and goal. At the same time, it should provide a genuine platform for the development and progress of the cause of human rights in the world, and for genuine cooperation in the realization of global justice, human rights, and sus-tainable development, to promote humanity’s progress towards a more civilized and prosperous tomorrow.

* ZHANG Weihua ( 张卫华 ), Assistant Researcher and Juris Doctor of International Law Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
 
1. Wu Gang, “The First Time that the Concept of the Community of Shared Future for Mankind Has Been Listed in the Resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council,” People’s Daily, March 25, 2017.
 
2. Leften Stavrianos, A Global History – From Prehistory to the 21st Century, trans. Wu Xiangying et al. (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2005), 397.
 
3. Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law, 6th edition, vol. 1, trans. Bai Guimei et al. 2011, (Beijing: Peking Uni-versity Press, 2011), 31-33.
 
 
4. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Build A Community of Shared Future for Humanity –Speech in the United Nations Office at Geneva,” People’s Daily, January 20, 2017.
 
5. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Forge a New Partnership of Win-Win Cooperation and build a Community of Shared Future for Humanity,” People’s Daily, September 29, 2015.
 
6. Gudmundur Alfredsson and Asbjorn Eide, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Common Standard of Achievement, trans. China Society for Human Rights Studies (Chengdu: Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 1999), 2.
 
7. See the stipulations of Subsection 1 of Article 13, Article 55, Article 56, Article 62 and Article 68 of the United Nations Charter.
 
8. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Build A Community of Shared Future for Humanity –Speech in the United Nations Office at Geneva,” People’s Daily, January 20, 2017.
 
9. James Griffin, On Human Rights, trans. Xu Xiangdong and Liu Ming (Nanjing: Yilin Press, 2015), 2.
 
10. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Ambassador Ma Chaoxu, Permanent Representative of the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, made a joint statement ‘Strengthening Human Rights Dialogue and Cooperation, Building the Community with a Shared Future for Mankind’, on behalf of 140 countries at the 36th Meeting of the Human Rights Council”, accessed September 28, 2017. http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/dszlsjt_673036/t1493651.shtml
 
11. Zhao Tingyang, “Human Rights in Advance: A Non-Western Theory of Universal Human Rights,” Social Sciences in China 4 (2006): 18.
 
12. Wang Honggang, “Evolution of Contemporary International Order and China’s Responsibility of the Times,” Contemporary International Relations 12 (2016): 14.
 
13. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind – Speech in the United Nations Office at Geneva,” People’s Daily, January 20, 2017.
 
14. Chen Youwu, “Basic Categories of Chinese Special Socialist Human Rights Theory,” Human Rights 1 (2015): 58.
 
15. Xu Xianming, Principles of Human Rights Law (Beijing: China University of Political Science and Law Press, 2008), 86-90.
 
16. Hsu Hin-ming, “The Universality of Human Rights and the Interpretation of Human Rights Culture,” Law Review 6 (1999): 18.
 
17. Xu Xianming, International Human Rights Law (Beijing: Law Press, 2004), 19.
 
18. Zhao Tingyang, “The Future of the World Order,” Exploration and Contention 11 (2015): 14.
 
19. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Forge a New Partnership of Win-Win Cooperation and build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” People’s Daily, September 29, 2015.
 
20. Zhao Tingyang, “The Futurity of the World Order,” 14.
 
21. Wang Honggang, “Evolution of Contemporary International Order and China’s Responsibility of the Times,” 14.
 
22. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Forge a New Partnership of Win-Win Cooperation and build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.”
 
23. See the State Council Information Office, The Right to Development: China’s Ideas, Practices and Contribu-tions, White Paper, December 1st, 2016.
 
24. Xi Jinping, “Working Together to Forge a New Partnership of Win-Win Cooperation and build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.”
 
(Translated by SU Yilong)
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