CHANG Jian: Chinese and European Views of Human Rights: Horizon Dividing, Extension, Fusion and Convergence
February 19,2020   By:
Chinese and European Views of Human Rights: Horizon Dividing, Extension, Fusion and Convergence
Abstract: The views of human rights in China and Europe originates from different cultural traditions with different horizons. The background color of Chinese traditional culture is holism and livelihood. Its logic is from the state to society and then to individuals. The focus of attention is on how the country can safeguard the survival of its people. The background color of modern European culture is individualism and liberalism. The logic of its development is from individual to society and then to the state. The focus is on how individual freedom can be realized in secular society.
From the horizon of Chinese holism and livelihood culture, the Chinese view of human rights takes the people's livelihood as basic principle. It regards the people's right to subsistence as core right, attaches importance to the safeguard of economic, social and cultural rights and the rights of vulnerable groups, restricts the exercise of rights by individuals with social obligations, and believes that the state is a positive force for the protection of human rights. In contrast, the European cultural horizon of individualism and liberalism has produced the individualistic and liberal view of human rights, which regards individual freedom as the core right, attaches importance to the protection of civil and political rights and the protection of the rights of European free men, restricts the requirements of social obligations with individual rights, and regards human rights as the restriction of state power.
Since modern times, the views of human rights in China and Europe have gone through their horizon extensions respectively. China's view of human rights has changed from holistic subsistencialism to developmentalism. It reinterprets the relationship between monarch and people with the concept of civil rights, breaks through the limitation of obligation standard with the concept of rights, combines freedom with order, integrates democracy with people's livelihood, integrates equal rights into the ideal of Datong society, extends core rights from the right to subsistence to the right to development, and advocates the balanced protection of economic, social and cultural rights and civil rights and political rights, of individual rights and collective rights, rights and obligations are mutually restricted, and the legalization of human rights protection is emphasized. Correspondingly, the European view of human rights has changed from individual liberalism to post-modernism. Its subjects of rights include people of non-European countries. The content of rights has included economic, social and cultural rights. Individual freedom is restricted by social and public interests. It has begun to recognize the diversity of human rights development and concern to the importance of the ability of right exercise for the real enjoyment of human rights.
The Chinese and European views of human rights merged with each other's perspective in their respective horizon extensions, which has expanded the convergence area of Chinese horizons and European horizons of human rights views. At present, both China and Europe are based on the common challenges of global problems to the whole human beings and will continue to form new areas of convergence of human rights views through mutual understanding and inspiration. 
Key Words: Chinese View of Human Rights; European View of Human Rights; Horizon Extension; Horizon Fusion; Horizon Convergence
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