Home > PUBLICATIONS & RESOURCES > JOURNAL >

Human Rights Consensus and the Common Prosperity of Civilizations
January 10,2019   By:CSHRS
Human Rights Consensus and the Common Prosperity of Civilizations
 
— A Summary of Views at the “2018·China-Europe
Seminar on Human Rights”
 
 
ZHOU Li* & NIE Qingyu**
 
Abstract: The “2018·China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights” was successfully held at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, on June 28. The seminar was hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the International Institute of Human Rights, and was organized by the Human Rights Institute at the Southwest Univer-sity of Political Science and Law and the French ADELIE Language and Cultural Exchange Association. The University of Strasbourg, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and European Institute for Political and Strategic Communication were served as co- organizers. Over 60 experts and scholars in the field of human rights from China and Europe attended the seminar in search of the diversity of civilization and human rights protection, focusing on themes such as “the philosophy of human rights in a Chinese context”, “the philosophy of human rights in the Univer-sal Declaration of Human Rights and its reflection”, “human rights theory and practice in a pluralistic world”, “human rights exchanges and dialogues under the diversity of civilization”, and “in search of hu-man rights consensus in diverse civilizations.” In the context of respect-ing diversity, the seminar sought a consensus to promote trans-cultural communication in the form of dialogues and to strengthen understand-ing between the academic circles of China and Europe.
 
Keywords: diversity of civilizations ¿ human rights exchanges and dialogues ¿ human rights consensus
 
The diversity of civilizations is a basic feature of human society. Respecting and protecting human rights is the premise and foundation for upholding the diversity of civilization. Realizing people’s full enjoyment of human rights is an important sign of the progress of human civilization. Since different civilizations are shaped by var-ious political, economic, social, cultural and other factors, different understandings of human rights and approaches to safeguarding human rights exist. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the diversity of human civilizations to bridge the communication gaps among them on human rights. Taking China and Europe as examples, although Eastern and Western civilizations are different, they share similar values, such as the concepts of people oriented governance, benevolence and harmony in Eastern civili-zation, and the concepts of freedom, the rule of law, and fairness in Western civiliza-tion. These concepts are all part of the precious spiritual wealth of mankind and both Eastern and Western concepts and have already had a positive impact on the devel-opment of human society. In this regard, as representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, China and Europe should deepen their communications on human rights, which would be of great significance to bridging the differences and misunderstand-ings among civilizations.
 
On June 28, the “2018·China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights” was hosted by China Society for Human Rights Studies and International Institute of Human Rights. It was organized by Human Rights Institute at Southwest University of Po-litical Science and Law and France’s ADELIE Language and Cultural Exchange Association. Also the University of Strasbourg in French, Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and the European Institute for Political and Strategic Communication were co-organizers. It was held in the Bruges-based College of Europe with more than 60 experts and scholars from Europe and China attending the seminar in search of a consensus on human rights protection with respect to a diversity of civilizations, focusing on “the philosophy of human rights in the Chinese context”, “the philosophy of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its reflection in society”, “human rights theory and practice in a pluralistic world”, and “human rights exchanges and dialogues under the diversity of civilizations”.
 
I.  The Philosophy of Human Rights in the Chinese Context
 
Lv Yiwei, a lecturer at the Law School of Nankai University, analyzed the nature of human rights embodied in Chinese traditional “people-orientated” thinking. She believes that traditional Chinese human rights ideology began with the clan society before class differentiation appeared. When states were founded, it was a function of their rulers to guarantee the survival and development of the people. Therefore, human rights issues and ideas are not the product of “modern times”. People-orientated think-ing, passed down through generations since the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), is the basic expression of traditional Chinese human rights ideology. This thinking is to pro-tect the basic human rights of the people’s right to subsistence and development. This idea has flourished since the Xia Dynasty (c. 2070–c. 1600 BC) and during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), when Confucianism was solely acknowledged, it was enriched and developed into a theory of “Heaven-Man Interaction” with theocracy. This thought became an important part of the theory of unified governance followed by successive generations. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core has completed the epoch-making transformation of the ideological connotations of “people orientated” governance. In addition, “people-centered” and “upholding the primacy of the people” approaches have been established as the purpose and principle of “people-oriented” ideology. The implementation of people’s right to development is the basis and key to solving all problems in China.
Professor Zhang Yonghe, executive director of the Human Rights Institute at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, analyzed the concept of dignity in ancient China. He believes that the Confucian view of human kindness is the basis of Chinese human rights thought. Ancient Chinese thought, represented by the school of Confucianism, advocated humanistic care, respected human dignity, called for equal-ity, benevolence, and a people-oriented doctrine, and it possesses rich human rights connotations. The Chinese saying “by nature, men are nearly alike; through practice, they become wide apart” conveys the Confucian idea of human nature. The distinction between exemplary men and petty men is the most obvious embodiment of human dignity. Confucius tried to reconstruct the social ethical order through the practice of “provide education for all people without discrimination” in the society with “collapsed rituals”, and on this basis, to refresh public opinion on the dignity of being a human being. Mencius further expressed his attitude on the issue of dignity through such re-cords in Mencius as “King Hui of Liang”1, “the metaphor of the fish and bear’s paw”2 and “the theory of a nobility of heaven and a nobility of man”3. The close relationship between “the choice between justice and benefit” and personal dignity is embodied in the story of “the metaphor of fish and bear’s paw” in part one of Mencius Gao Zi. Moreover, he believed that the true dignity was not bestowed by others, but through one’s own practice.
 
Zhao Shukun, a professor of the Human Rights Institute at Southwest University of Political Science and Law gave a keynote address on “Mencius’ thought and its human rights meaning from the perspective of responsibility”. She believes that Men-cius’ thought discusses politics with emotion and pays attention to the cultivation of a sense of responsibility. With the assumption that people are to perform good deeds as the premise and a sense of responsibility as the intermediary, Mencius’ thought de-veloped along the road of “individuals, homes and countries”, and gradually formed a harmonious whole. The personal ideals of men with noble characters is the basis, good interpersonal relations the core, and people-oriented social governance the goal. This kind of philosophical thinking based on responsibility can correct the dominant subjectivity justifications for the current human rights paradigm, promote the human rights ideology in non-Western countries and consolidate the cultural roots of human rights discourse in China.
 
Cairangwangxiu, a lecturer at the Law School of Southwest Minzu University,
 

1. The story of King Hui of Liang describes that Mencius went to meet King Hui of Liang and per-suaded him to carry out benevolent policies and put priority on people.
 
2. The metaphor of fish and bear’s paw: you can’t have a cake and eat it too. One should make choice between justice and benefits.
 
3. The theory of a nobility of heaven and a nobility of man: Mencius believed men with virtues such as benevolence, righteousness and trustworthiness are the nobility of heaven, while those with secular official positions are the nobility of men. Mencius thought highly of the nobility of heav-en explained the concept of life in Tibetan culture. He said that Tibetan people intertwine religious culture, legal culture and folklore, thus mixing their life concepts with nat-ural laws, seeking the goal, and thinking about the way for all to be in harmony. This view of life is both sacred and secular. As a unique cultural manifestation, it has been given new connotations in the process of adapting to modern society. These new con-notations include discussion on the meaning of life in pursuit of individual rights, the transformation of life concepts under the intervention of modern science and the re-flection on secular values. Through a vertical analysis of the historical evolution of the Tibetan people’s view on life and a horizontal comparison of deity and secular culture, we can find the awe and respect of the Tibetan people for life, and the unique moral consciousness and ethical norms derived from the yearning for reincarnation as a Buddha or human. Attached to the experience of life, these consciousness and norms, such as helping others, doing good deeds, being indifferent to fame and wealth and maintaining inner peace, are of great value and meaning to the Tibetan people. A deep connection between their understanding of the world and their inherently generated view of life has been forged.
 
Professor Zhou Wei, director of the Research Center for Human Rights Studies at Sichuan University, explained the meaning of human rights norms in the Constitu-tion of the People’s Republic of China and its implementation. He pointed out that in 2004, the words “the State respects and preserves human rights” were included in the Constitution, marking that “human rights” was a national commitment and political principle and had formally become a legal concept. Around this general article on the obligation of the state, the fundamental rights regulations of the Constitution, the pol-icies represented by the National Human Rights Action Plan of China and the content of human rights protection in the international conventions signed by China have con-stituted the specific human rights norms in China. With the practice of human rights law, the meaning has also been expanded. Through basic legislation to protect peo-ple’s rights, the standardization of law enforcement actions and the implementation of judicial measures with rights protection as the center, the connotation of the human rights norms of the Constitution of China can be realized. An open and mature nation-al human rights guarantee system centered on constitutional human rights norms has been formed in China.
 
II.  The Philosophy of Human Rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Its Reflection
 
Christian Mestre, a professor of the College of Europe, honorary president and honorary dean of the Law School of the University of Strasbourg, presented in his speech that by analyzing the development of human rights in the world, it can be seen that the major principle of unity and universality in the Universal Declaration of Hu-man Rights has been reached. Therefore, we should focus on the different opinions on the list of rights, values and ideas shown in this document. In response to these key issues, many scholars from both sides have proposed that human rights are diverse, different and relative. Should we now rethink the content of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, if possible, submit a new draft?

Professor Tom Zwart, director of the Intercultural Human Rights Research Center at the Free University of Amsterdam, discussed improving the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He says that over the past decades, there has been a tendency to por-tray the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a liberal privilege, which can only be achieved through legislation or by giving individuals and courts enforceable rights. The basic assumption seems to be that in order to fulfill human rights obligations, a society has to abandon its own values and replace them with the concept of freedom, autonomy, individualism, rationality and secularism. However, this was not the draft-ers’ intention, nor has it been determined by others. The Universal Declaration of Hu-man Rights is the charter of the people, aimed at promoting and respecting the rights of each individual and every social institution. It attracts people with different cultural, political, religious and philosophical backgrounds but does not represent a certain sin-gle philosophy or worldview. The Declaration provides a platform for various human rights approaches, including the theory of interpersonal relations oriented with society, which was put forward by human-rights campaigner Pengchun Chang. According to Chang, the realization of human rights must be based on local politics, society and culture.
 
Sikes Kamga, professor of the University of South Africa made a presentation on “Traditional institutions, carriers and paths of human rights and protection of wom-en’s rights — Africa in the era of pluralistic civilizations”. Prof. Kamga thought that 70 years after the adoption and globalization of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant documents, this legal weapon has disappointed women, especially African women. The global legal framework for the protection of women rights is characterized by legalism. Legal, legislative and administrative measures are taken to ensure equality. However, the framework does not rely on local institutions (for ex-ample, traditional leadership institutions) to safeguard the rights of African women. It also fails to make good use of the function of local institutions as human rights carri-ers, which hinders the effective legal protection of women’s rights and interests.
 
Xu Jian, a professor of History Department at Peking University, discussed the issue of the pluralistic (Chinese) human rights concepts and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She stressed that more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War, there has been a new trend in the study of human rights history. Western political ideas represented by neoliberalism are in a dilemma, and human rights concepts advocated by non-Western countries are beginning to play a greater role. Human rights practices, the accumulation of theories and cultural diversity in the history of the human rights cause have shaped international human rights concepts. In June 1946, the subsidiary body Commission on Human Rights of United Nations Economic and Social Council did draw on the literature of Western countries in preparing the draft of human rights. But in the following discussions, it met the challenge of plural human rights concepts. Chinese concepts on human rights in a pluralistic civilization system has exerted enormous influence. The elements of Chinese thought in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights include “benevolence”, “propriety” and “Tao”. In Article 1, “rationali-ty” in the West and “conscience” in the East are juxtaposed as human rights thoughts.

In fact, the definition of human rights based on cultural differences is also recognized and respected by Western countries. The conflicts encountered by the Commission on Human Rights in drafting the Declaration are mainly concentrated on whether human rights can transcend national sovereignty, whether social development trends should be taken into consideration, and whether the Declaration has legal status or not. In-clusiveness and openness have been the most important support. Although countries have their own interpretation of the provisions in the Declaration, it continues to have a far-reaching impact.
 
III.  Human Rights Theory and Practice in a Pluralistic World
 
In his keynote speech, Pierre Defraigne, executive director of the Madariaga think-tank of the foundation of Collage of Europe, pointed out that world peace is in the fundamental interest of all humanity and depends on mutual equality and coopera-tion among countries. It requires not only acceptance of different political systems, but also cooperation among different political systems. From this perspective, whatever the intuition is, the desire for universal values should not be a prerequisite for interna-tional cooperation, such as protecting our planet or promising to open markets. This situation poses a unique challenge to China and Europe. As time goes by, there has been some convergence between China and Europe. However, fundamental differenc-es still exist and must be resolved. One of the sensitive issues is about human rights and democracy. The Belt and Road Initiative has promoted gradual integration of Eurasian economy, and its stability depends on the cooperation between China and the European Union. Therefore, it is of constructive significance to understand each other and to initiate a dialogue on human rights and democracy between China and Europe.
 
Laura Guercio, secretary-general of the Inter-ministerial Commission on Human Rights of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that with the decline of the na-tion states as the center of political and legal power, it is increasingly difficult to reach a “consensus” on universal human rights standards. The traditional state-centered le-gal philosophy must give way to another paradigm to recognize the plurality of legal and social interests. A pluralistic universalism is also an approach closer to reality. This concept of plurality is also found in the Case Laws made by the European Court of Human Rights. Pluralism is one of the main characteristics of a democratic soci-ety, and it’s an important factor to determine the scope and influence of several basic rights. The concept of pluralism in the case law made by European Court of Human Rights is not about a simple application of several different laws to members of dif-ferent cultures, religions, or ethnic groups without any restrictions. On the contrary, the European Court of Human Rights needs to coordinate different social and legal orders. This process of reconciliation involves national and international mechanisms. The case law helps to establish a pluralistic universalism on basic rights. It embodies universal values and shapes the domestic laws of European countries through unique but universal explanations on human rights standards.
 
Jumi van der Velde, a professor at the Hague University of Applied Sciences used the Islamic ideas of ikhtilāf (diversity of opinion), ijmā (consensus) and ijtihād (legal reasoning), to explore how to deal with human rights issues in the diversified world.

In Islam, God is the omniscient “legislator”, and no one can fully know God’s will; therefore, jurisprudents agree that ikhtilāf is the basic feature of Islamic laws and call it “the indulgence of God”. Thus, the different “schools of law” in Islam can tolerate each other and coexist although they are diverse, even remarkably different. It is their respect for differences in laws and practices around the country that allow jurists to hold different opinions. In addition, the consensus (ijmā) reached through Muslim scholars’ (Mujtahiduns) legal reasoning (ijtihād) becomes another legal factor with in-herent differences. Scholars can choose to be pro or con. Therefore, the diversity and consensus (unconscious) of opinions have contributed to forming a pluralistic philoso-phy of laws.
 
Qiao Congrui, a doctoral student at Utrecht University, gave a keynote speech entitled “Administrative and Judicial Mechanism and Human Rights Governance”. She said that, in the field of human rights, social law research has not given deficient attention to the importance of administrative justice in establishing effective human rights governance. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the awareness of the academic community about the role of administrative justice mechanisms in better implement-ing the protection of human rights, particularly in people’s right to information and participation, and in the remedies and compensation of the government when it comes to unfair treatment. As a result, it is necessary to take action to disclose the details of the various administrative and judicial mechanisms in effect, including internal re-view, ombudsman investigation, appealing to the Chamber, etc., and the mechanisms should be subject to judicial review by the court. Furthermore, it should be clarified thereafter how the proper functioning of these mechanisms can help strengthen human rights governance at the normative, structural and practical levels.
 
Zhang Jianwen, a professor of the Institute of Human Rights at Southwest Uni-versity of Political Science and Law gave a speech on the theme of “Protection of general personality rights as a method of judicial protection for emerging rights”. He believes that China’s judicial policy and interpretation are different from the general concept of personality rights in German law. Although it is not for the protection of emerging rights, the Civil Law has established the foundation for the legislative pro-cess of general personality rights and promoted its development. The general person-ality rights in Article 109 of the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China and the specific personality rights in Article 110 not only reason-ably develop the way prescribed by China’s judicial interpretation, but also recon-struct the civil rights system of our civil laws. It is necessary to re-recognize the nature of general personality rights and their relationship with specific personality rights, and to re-recognize the separation or cohesion of general personality rights and other concepts of personal of interests in the function of system and the implementation methods. General personality rights with personal freedom and personal dignity as the basic values solves the problem of protecting personality interests within the range of its meaning. However, it is also limited by the connotations of the values of personal freedom and personal dignity. Meanwhile, the legal issue on whether to protect per-sonality interests except from general personality rights and specific personality rights or not still cannot go beyond the scope and mechanism of “other personality interests” created by judicial interpretation.
 
IV.  Human Rights Exchanges and Dialogues under the Diversity of Civilization
 
With the theme of “Looking at the similarities and differences between the West-ern and Western human rights in the Sino-French cultural differences”, Zhang Guobin, the Secretary-General of the Charhar Institute, gave a speech examining the different concepts of human rights in the East and the West. He pointed out that every country and region has formed its unique historical culture and customs in the long develop-ment process, and its concept of human rights is produced and developed in its unique historical and cultural environments. Although different countries share the same goal in their concepts of human rights, their manifestations are unique. Both China and France have illustrious histories and cultures and they continues play important roles in the international community nowadays. By studying the cultural differences be-tween China and France, we can learn the similarities and differences of the concepts of human rights in the East and the West, so as to achieve common ground while re-serving differences and develop together through mutual understanding and tolerance.
 
André van der Braque, a professor of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, on “Cross-cultural Human Rights Dialogue”, discussed the opportunities and obstacles in the dialogues between Chinese and Western cultures. He pointed out that we shouldn’t comprehend the concept of human rights based on the universal values of liberalism, but on tradition, cross-culture, multi-religious dialogue and intercultural dialogue. In this regard, he firstly talked about the differences between Chinese and Western cultures in religion and identity; and then explained the reasons for the differences by showing the different understandings of the secular and sacred in Chinese and Western cultures; finally, he discussed the importance of dialogues concerning cross-cultural human rights between China and the West.
 
From the perspective of anthropology and communication, Professor Oliver Erivon from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, traced the history of several elements that constitute the two civilizations of China and Europe, described the two different phil-osophical systems, and explored their position of cultural relativism (the coexistence of two incompatible systems) or the possibility of their fusion. For European civili-zation, he concluded that the political and social liberalism, the tenets of Christianity, and humanism that emerged during the Enlightenment, are the core of contemporary citizenship. Broadly, they form the core of the contract between citizens and the ruling state. Specifically, this system is embodied in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Hu-man Rights, and more specifically, the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
 
Wang Liwan, a lecturer from the Human Rights Research Institute at China Uni-versity of Political Science and Law, explored the “self-orientalization” of Chinese human rights discourse. He pointed out that the Chinese human rights discourse sys-tem is partially characterized by “self-orientalization” although dominated by Western concepts in terms of the origin, particularity and future prospects of the system. This is the result of “Western-centric” discourse power mechanism; on the one hand, it implies the Chinese scholars has been attaching, confronting, reshaping and using Western theories. To construct China’s human rights discourse system, we need to transcend both of “Western Centralism” and “Self-Orientalization”, take China’s ex-perience as a method and position, adhere to “view of human rights in the confusion of civilization”, balance the relations between the universality and particularity of hu-man rights, explore the Chinese way of human rights development in the world, and promote the cross-cultural exchanges and mutual learning of human rights, so as to provide alternative ways to improve the protection of human rights in the world.
 
Yang Bochao, a lecturer from the Institute of Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law, criticized Professor Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and discusses the issue of diversification of the concept of human rights. He believes that Professor Huntington’s view that future inter-state conflicts will de-rive from “the cultural fault lines” caused by a “clash of civilizations”, is the result of “Western centralism”, and it advocates the advantages of Western civilization. He believes that there are many limitations in Huntington’s argument as the conflicts among civilizations are the origin of international conflicts, because although there are differences among civilizations, they do not have to lead to conflicts, and the analysis process from “difference” to “conflict” implies Professor Huntington’s own attitudes toward different civilizations. The concept of “A Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings” proposed by China will greatly alleviate or eliminate conflicts in the field of human rights and between civilizations. The thought of inclusive human rights within this concept originates from traditional culture of China, can effectively adjust the relationship between the universality and the particularity of human rights and provide new ideas for international human rights protection and harmonious develop-ment.
 
Zhang Xian, a doctoral candidate at Utrecht University, gave a speech entitled “European-Chinese Human Rights Dialogue: Retrospect and Prospect”. He believes that as a proponent and practitioner of “normative power”, the European Union has always tried to place human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and other principles and norms at the center of its common foreign policy and foreign relations. Since 1995, the European Union has responded to its concerns about China’s human rights issues through institutionalized but “mild” diplomatic dialogues with China. However, the EU-China Human Rights Dialogues have caused different criticisms in Europe in recent years. Some say that the dialogues have little effect. Moreover, some interna-tional NGOs of human rights have issued a joint statement calling for the suspension or even the abolition of the EU-China human rights dialogues. But this opinion is un-tenable. It should be noted that despite the challenges and problems, European human rights dialogues and practices have indeed been influencing China, and the dialogue mechanism is effective and beneficial. Looking ahead, the EU-China Human Rights Dialogues should develop more evenly and mutually beneficially. Therefore, dialogue and communication should not be one-way, which means while China is listening to Europe, Europe should also consider China’s human rights philosophy and its eco-nomic and social development practices.
 
Professor Zhang Wei, Co -director of the Institute for Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law, gave a speech on the theme of “Diplomacy from people’s livelihoods to popular feelings: building a community with a shared future for human beings based on human rights.” He pointed out that cooperation to improve people’s livelihoods is an important means of foreign economic exchang-es, while diplomacy of people’s feeling pays more attention to protecting the human rights of citizen. Diplomacy of people’s feeling is a diplomatic way to promote for-eign exchanges and win the hearts of the people through safeguarding human rights. Building a community with a shared future for human beings based on human rights is an essential requirement for shaping the core values of our country’s diplomacy and realizing the transition from “diplomacy of people’s livelihood” to “diplomacy of pop-ular feelings”. Among them, under the existing UN framework, there is the Chinese way, in which all countries work together to fully guarantee citizens’ high-level hu-man rights in partnership, security, economic development, civilized exchanges, and ecological construction.
 
V.  Human Rights Consensus in Search of Diversified Civilizations
 
Pierre Bercis, President of the French New Human Rights Association, makes a statement on “human rights consensus in line with cultural diversity”. He holds that the “new human rights” mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to cultural diversity, and what we call “human rights consensus” can refer to diversified forms of democracy. China has made some efforts on it, but it still could go further, because the values of China’s traditional Confucian are consistent with this consensus. The “human rights consensus” should also be cultural as well as political, like preserving cultural and linguistic diversity. Although China has made great efforts in biodiversity, environmental protection, and prevention of global warming, it lacks protection for cultural diversity. It is hoped that the colleagues of the Human Rights Association will work together to reach a human rights consensus and respect the po-litical and cultural diversity.
 
Harro von Senger, a professor of China studies at both Universität Zürich and Universität Freiburg, discussed the consensus on human rights concepts in China and the West. He believes that there is something wrong with the recent prevailing con-cept of human rights in China and the West. He holds that there is a big gap between China and Western countries in human rights, and that they lack a consensus. Besides, the concept of human rights on both sides is considered fundamentally different. He pointed out that this view, which only highlights the differences and contradictions of human rights, is partial and bias. But in fact, the consensus on the concept of human rights between China and the West is relatively great. He suggested that we should not just emphasize the bilateral dialogue between countries, such as that between China and some Western countries (for example, Switzerland and Germany), but should pay more attention to the global multilateral dialogue on human rights in the UN Human Rights Council. In this way, the global human rights consensus between China and the West, and even the Islamic countries and the West will be visible. We should not only correct the opinions that unilaterally emphasize the differences of human rights between China and the West, but also realize that the consensus on human rights be-tween China and the West far outweigh its differences.
 
Stacey Links, a doctoral student at Utrecht University, gave a speech on the theme “Marginal human rights: between diversity and universality”. She believes that whether there can be a consensus on the universality of human rights and their exist-ing forms or not, is a major challenge to the effectiveness and legitimacy of human rights around the world. As for the interpretation of the human rights in the interna-tional community, the Western frameworks and experiences are predominant. Their dominant position hinders people realizing common human rights around the world. It takes Europe as the center, so they do not resonate with people in non-Western soci-ety. From the perspective of diversity and universality, she explored the post-colonial criticism of human rights, proposing that the universality and (or) human rights should be regarded as a whole, and it would be a way to reconciling current tensions.
 
Professor Chang Jian, director of the Center for Human Rights at Nankai Uni-versity, discussed cultural neutralization concerning the concepts of human rights in the process of globalization. He believes that cultural neutrality refers to the process, in which concepts reach “overlapping consensus” through the cyclical interaction between universalization and specialization. There are three stages to this process: neutralization, differentiation, and integration. For centuries, the concept of human rights has been achieving cultural neutralization in global interactions and has gradu-ally been accepted by countries with different cultures around the world. The concept of human rights was limited at the beginning. However, the 1948 Universal Declara-tion of Human Rights was a parental concept that people accepted. Since then, human rights concepts have differentiated greatly. Being combined with the actual needs of various places, the content of human rights has continued to expand, forming many new human rights claims, which reached a climax before the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. Cultural neutralization of the concept of human rights is mainly embodied in the conventions and declarations of human rights formulated by the United Nations after the war, and it is marked by the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The concept of human rights has been expanding in the process of the process of neutralization, differentiation, and integration, showing its vitality.
 
Professor He Zhipeng, executive director of the Human Rights Research Center at Jilin University, has analyzed the issue of cultural tolerance in the protection of human rights. He points out that cultural tolerance is an important way to enhance human rights in all countries and promote their human rights cooperation. From the perspectives of political philosophy and legal philosophy, in terms of human instinct and the most basic needs of human beings, achieving human rights is not the goal of human society, but the means for people to live happy lives Thus, it can be concluded that human rights are likely to have multiple forms. Since human rights are a means to realize a happy life, different human rights protection ideas and systems may be pro-posed in different historical and cultural backgrounds. The cross-cultural identification, mutual exchanges, coordination and cooperation between different human rights models is a good way to ultimately realize better human rights protection.
 
VI.  Conclusion
 
To realize a larger scope and a higher degree of human rights, requires mutual respect and cooperation between countries. Our understanding of the concept of hu-man rights shouldn’t be based on the liberal universal values or hegemonic discourse, but on the recognition of diverse civilizations, and cross-cultural reality and equality. The conference fully demonstrated the theory and practice of human rights in the plu-ralistic world. With respect for diversity as the premise, it promoted the cross-cultural communication on human rights through full dialogues and increased the understand-ing between Chinese and European academic circles.
 
(Translated by LI Man)

Chinese Dictionary:

@cn_humanrights

For the latest news and analysis from our

reporters and editors:Staff Twitter List>>

E-mail:chinahrs@public.bta.net.cn