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Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind to Human Rights Theory
April 27,2018   By:CSHRS
Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind to Human Rights Theory
 
HE Zhipeng*
 
Abstract: The concept named “a community with a shared future for mankind” has important implications for the theory and practice of human rights. From the perspective of specific human rights, the idea of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind implies recog-nizing the right to peace of mankind, advocates the mode of economic cooperation and development, and acts as a guide for building an eco-friendly world, rejecting hegemony, and promoting cultural diver-sity. Therefore, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind plays an important supporting role in establishing the legitimacy of specific rights. Meanwhile, in view of the scarcity of human resources, it is impossible for all kinds of rights to be protected to the same degree. Human rights need to be systematically constructed in theory and practice, and also require the formation of a well-functioning platform for their protection. As a guideline, the notion of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is conducive to the establishment of such a system.
 
Keywords: a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind      Human Rights      Specific Rights      Human Rights System
 
A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is a concept with a global per-spective proposed by China in the new era. It not only involves international relations and world politics1 but also provides significant guidance for the in-depth recognition of human rights, for the command of human rights concepts with Chinese character-istics, and for the formation of human rights ideas in a new era.2 The author maintains that the influence and implications of the concept in the field of human rights can be recognized from specific types of human rights and the systematic understanding of human rights.
 
Ⅰ. Deepening and Strengthening the Contents of Human Rights with the Concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
 
For political order, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind aims at con-structing a wide consultation mechanism for international politics and thus developing a better governance structure via international democracy and consultation.3 The sys-tems of both the League of Nations and the United Nations are preliminary designs under such a structure, yet these designs have shown a series of problems in the past and are still showing many problems today. For example, some major powers oppose small countries with their strength and superiority, while some larger interest groups will ignore and disregard the interests of smaller countries. This approach is not con-ducive to the establishment and realization of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. In this sense, the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Man-kind requires all countries to pay more attention to creating a democratic and consul-tative political system and rejecting the hegemony of major powers.
 
War and peace are long-term themes throughout human history, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind means to develop the concept of international or-der from the perspective of peace, so it seeks to safeguard all peoples’ right to peace. Mocius, the ancient Chinese thinker, once put forward ideas of “universal love” and “non-attack”. He explicitly pointed out the possibly negative impact of war on peo-ple’s lives and social development and further proposed that mankind should cherish peace and try its best to avoid war, in particular, unjust aggressive wars. These expo-sitions still have profound implications for the current international order. If the idea is applied to the field of human rights, it would require institutionalizing the concept of the right to peace and effectively developing a good international order with rules, organization and cooperation.4 This kind of right to peace should be effectively rec-ognized not only at the national level but also at personal level and be supported by a more appropriate international legal system.
 
In terms of its economic mode, the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind reveals the vital significance of the right to development for countries and individuals to a large extent. In particular, it represents the comprehension of the right to development in a broader sense that combines the right to development with the institutionalization of the right to development so as to forge a new international order and economy aimed at safeguarding and realizing the right to development of all people throughout the world. Economic development is an interdependent and mutu-ally supportive system, so a country can never be divorced from the interests of other countries in development. Therefore, the construction of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind should attach great importance to the right to development, espe-cially the right to development of poverty-stricken regions in underdeveloped coun-tries. Development should be considered from the perspective of human rights, while human rights should be protected through the realization of development. In this re-gard, human rights and development should be integrated into the cooperation mecha-nisms of the international community. In other words, countries should avoid harming the interests of others in pursuit of their own interests. On the contrary, the world should be considered as a common market for mutual support, mutual cooperation, and the mutual development of all countries. Under the premise of such an Interna-tional Economic Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, consideration should be given to the formation and development of new rules, mechanisms, and means for international economic exchanges.
 
In this context, the Belt and Road Initiative launched by China can be regarded as an attempt to practice the building of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind. With this initiative, China has explicitly expressed that all countries are welcome to get on board the express train of China’s development.5 This is obviously a reflection of traditional institutional economics as well as a new concept and development in the field of international human rights.
 
A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind also places great emphasis on people’s right to a healthy environment. To a large extent, the so-called shared fu-ture for mankind refers to the environmental and ecological hazards facing mankind, namely, the international environmental risk society proposed by Ulrich Beck, the famous German sociologist. In response to the situation of a risk society, mankind should fully cooperate for sustainable development to ensure a healthy environment for all, rather than drying the pond to get all fish. Representing the concept of sustain-able development, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind to a great extent indicates the awareness of shared environmental risks to our common home. In such a global risk society, mankind should make the choice to endeavor for a shared future. Such an endeavor should not only pay attention to the limits of growth and sustainable economic development but also be cautious of the impact on the central position of mankind in the development process with a variety of other excuses. Similarly, the concept of environmental protection and sustainable development has already been presented in ancient Chinese wisdom. Rites of Zhou and other Chinese classics of the pre-Qin period, all reflect the longing for, support, and affirmation of a modest way of life. In this way, mankind can ensure restrained, temperate and modest attitude towards environment and resources and avoid the enormous pressure on the environ-ment resulting from one-sided human-centrism. Adherence to the concept of a Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind can help all countries avoid the devastating impacts brought about by unsustainable development, which in fact maintains the basic dimension of survival and development of mankind from the angle of right to environment.
 
Finally, in the sense of culture, the emphasis on a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind signifies that cultural hegemony of some countries should be avoided and even resisted. We should not consider some unilateral cultural concepts of human rights as the only correct concept of human rights, while deeming other con-cepts of human rights to be false and distorted. This means that human rights should be comprehended from more extensive historical and cultural traditions.6 Chinese ele-ments and Asian elements should be actively accepted in human rights theories. Chi-na’s experience and the Beijing Consensus should be seriously considered in human rights practice. We should seek cooperation and coordination on the basis of mutual tolerance and respect to develop inclusive concepts rather than merely considering the ideological differences between countries. We should oppose the practice of consider-ing human rights to be a tool to repress the culture of other countries.
 
The concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind means promot-ing human rights in a tolerant, understanding, and mutually beneficial way. The an-cient Chinese classic Analects of Confucius recorded the words of Confucius, “Now the gentleman, wishing himself to be established, sees that others are established, and, wishing himself to be successful, sees that others are successful.” It means that be-nevolent people should be benevolent to others before others show their kindness and only when one is generous and tolerant of others will others be the same. A fundamen-tal requirement for a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is to be tolerant and understanding of other people, countries, and cultures. Without the spirit of toler-ance and understanding, the struggle of mankind will be endless and the oppression and conflict among countries will never stop. A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind means a new understanding and interpretation of human rights discourse. Attention should be paid to both the universality of human rights and their diversity. Human rights should neither be taken as for a means for power struggle in internation-al politics nor be used as the excuse to justify attacks against and interference in other countries. The international social system should be established and developed on the basis of equal consultation and the principle of state sovereignty and non-interference in another country’s internal affairs. Only in this way can a good international human rights order be formed and a community with a shared future for mankind be realized. With a good international and domestic human rights order, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind can finally be constructed.
 
Ⅱ. Systematic Cognition of the Concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind on Human Rights
 
The proposing and subsequent constant clarification of the concept of a Commu-nity with a Shared Future for Mankind is conducive to better understanding different perceptions of human rights and the establishing of clearer international and domestic laws for their protection.
 
The idea of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind has profound conno-tations relevant to human rights, which contain human rights in a traditional sense, for instance, political rights and civil rights, economic, social and cultural rights. Howev-er, in a broader sense, it also signifies the emphasis and integration of emerging hu-man rights. The concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind not only exemplifies a great many specific types of human rights and their requirements, it also legitimizes and legalizes them in international law texts. More important, the concept contributes to the systematic discussion on human rights and, nevertheless, reflects the interdependence and mutual reinforcement of emerging human rights.
 
Although the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 proposed that all human rights are interdependent and every right is indispensable,7 it hasn’t been fully demonstrated and thoroughly elucidated. It is quite difficult to explain the interdependence, indispensability and indistinguishableness of human rights. As a re-sult, the relationships among rights have to be more effectively illustrated.
 
It is impossible to place all human rights in an equal position. Moreover, it would cause trouble for governments and relevant institutions. At present, it is better to form a more widely accepted order in different areas of human rights. In other words, a basic consensus should be reached on which rights are more important, which can be derogated when necessary and how to prioritize various rights. At this time, a Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind, as a target indicator, provides a useful reference scale for the sequencing of human rights. As soon as the train of thought of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is made explicit, it is more likely to recognize the relationship of various rights and realize the all-round objective of the protection of human rights. That is how to allocate these rights and how to construct an organic principle and way when human rights contradict8 with a shared future for mankind and the building of a community with a shared future comprising man-kind. When there are conflicts between individual and group rights and when there are contradictions between economic, social and cultural rights and political rights, the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, as a relatively clear and specific guidance and criterion, can determine which has priority. In this sense, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is no doubt an important indicator for the contemporary world to recognize human rights and deepen the systematic devel-opment of its human rights. In other words, while others are still immersed in detailed and technical debates over problems relating to specific rights, the concept of a Com-munity with a Shared Future for Mankind provides holistic and all-round strategic thinking transcending all these technical debates and discussions. It is a systematic contribution to human rights theory of the concept of a Community with a Shared Fu-ture for Mankind.
 
Ⅲ. Conclusion
 
The concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, is not only an important Chinese initiative for a new era, but also significant as a guide for the world.9 A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is a community based on all mankind and for all mankind with the internal governance structure upgraded as the means.10 Focusing on the Earth, the common homeland of mankind, the concept considers how to face the common risks to the environment and from nuclear weap-ons, how to establish a suitable international governance structure, how to develop a good global governance system for economic and social development, and thus how to promote the sound, coordinated, and sustainable development of mankind as well as the real freedom of every individual. Therefore, a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is a community of human rights. Under the guidance of the concept of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, there will be more new theoretical ideas and institutional arrangements for securing human rights.
 
* HE Zhipeng ( 何志鹏 ), Doctor of Laws, Ph.D. Supervisor, “2011 Plan?Collaborative Innovation Center”, Center for Jurisprudence Research of Jilin University, School of International and Public Affairs of Jilin Uni-versity. The research is supported by “Comparative Study of Culture Confidence and Discourse Conscious-ness” as a project of the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and “Improve the Discourse Power of China and Reform on International Legal System” as a major project of Key Research Centers of Humanities and Social Sciences of Ministry of Education (Project No.:16JJD820010).
 
1. Ruan Zongze, “A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind: ‘World Dream’ of China,” China International Studies 1 (2016): 9-21.
 
2. Cao Zhijian, “Global Human Rights Governance from the Perspective of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” Human Rights 2 (2017): 40-47. Zhou Li, “The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Discourse of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” Human Rights 2 (2017): 12-18. Zhu Ying, “The Multi-vision of Human Rights under a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” Hu-man Rights 2 (2017): 7-11.
 
3. Dai Jitao, “The Theory and Practice of Deliberative Democracy: Contributions to Human Rights Protection,” Present Day Law Science 2 (2008): 35-42.
 
4. Zhang Xiaoling and Liu Peien, “Maintain Human Rights and World Peace: China’s Remarkable Contribution to Human Rights,” Human Rights 6 (2015): 103-113. Du Xuewen and Gao Jun, “Human Right to Peace From the Perspective of a Social Contract,” Henan Social Sciences 6 (2010): 94-97.
 
5. On August 22, 2014, the Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech entitled “Help Each Oth-er in Crisis and Jointly Create a New Era for the Development of the China-Mongolia Relations” in the State Great Khural of Mongolia, in which he said, “countries are welcome to get on board the express train of Chi-na’s development. In our cooperation with other developing countries, China will set great store by upholding moral principles while pursuing its interests. China will not subscribe to a zero-sum approach. When it comes to specific projects, China will give more consideration to our cooperation partners. We will do whatever it takes to honor our commitment.” On November 7, 2015, President Xi Jinping stressed during his speech at the National University of Singapore, “China has received support from its neighbors in its development endeav-ors, and China’s development, in turn, has benefited its neighbors. China hopes that its own development and that of its neighbors will complement each other, and China welcomes its neighbors to board the fast train of China’s development so that they can share more from China’s development.” On December 4, 2015, Presi-dent Xi Jinping met 13 African heads of state in Johannesburg. During the meeting, he emphasized that China would continue to make new and greater contributions to the development of Africa. China welcome African countries to board the fast train of China’s development so that people of China and Africa can share more from it. On January 17, 2017, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum entitled “Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth” in which he stressed, “Chi-na’s development is an opportunity for the world; China has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it. We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity, so we applaud the achievements made by others and wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others’ success; and we will not complain about others who have benefited so much from the great opportunities presented by China’s development. We will open our arms to the people of other countries and welcome them to board the express train of China’s development.”
 
6. Zhu Ying, “The Multi-vision of Human Rights under a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” Hu-man Rights 2 (2017): 7-11.
 
7. Human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Vienna Declaration and Pro-gramme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on 25 June 1993, A/CONF. 157/23.
 
8. Xu Xiaobing, “Human Rights Conflicts and Coordinated Realization of Human Rights,” Law Science 11 (2005): 37-47. Chang Jian and Zhao Yulin, “Analysis on Subjects of Human Rights Conflicts,” Academics 3 (2014): 26-36.
 
9. Li Aimin, “A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind---Theoretical Nature, Basic Connotation, and Chinese Characteristics,” Journal of Fujian Provincial Commitee Party School of CPC 2 (2016): 96-102. Chen Xulong, “Position and Significance of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind in Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy,” Contemporary World 7 (2016): 8-11. Zhou Wenwen, Lin Meiqing and Zhao Jinke, “On the Scientific Connotation and Vital Significance of Xi Jinping’s Idea of ‘A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind’,” Journal of Socialist Theory Guide 1 (2017): 80-84.
 
10. Zhao Kejin, “A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind and Direction of China’s Public Diplomacy,” Public Diplomacy Quarterly 4 (2016): 4-10. Kang Yusheng and Chen Yinuo, “‘A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind’: Practice of ‘Real Community’ Idea of Marx in Contemporary China,” Academic Ex-changes 11 (2016): 11-15. Ye Xiaowen, “Build a Community with a Shared Future---The Soft Power Support of China as a Major Power in the World,” People’s Tribune 34 (2015): 35-37.
 
(Translated by HU Liang)
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