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The New Development of Human Rights “Jurisprudence” in Completing the Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects
March 02,2021   By:CSHRS
The New Development of Human Rights “Jurisprudence” in Completing the Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects
 
YANG Qingwang*
 
Abstract: Bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects to successful completion is a great achievement in China’s modernization and contributes to the development of human rights in China and the world alike. The practice of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has added new connotations to human rights theories, developing and outgrowing the traditional jurisprudence of human rights. This is reflected in the following aspects: the injection of the overall and equal human development has expanded the traditional Western values of human rights based on human freedom and dignity; the injection of interpersonal mutual development, win-win cooperation and risk management and control has expanded the traditional Western presupposition of social relations based on the social contract and civil society, and has thus expanded the social foundation of interpersonal cooperation, enriching the social concept of human rights. Guided by the concept of building a community with a shared future for human beings, the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, enriching the human rights worldviews, has changed the worldviews of racism and zero-sum game among Western developed countries and generated the new connotation that mankind should share the development opportunities and achievements. This has constituted a profound jurisprudence of human rights in China and formed an important discourse system in international human rights dialogue.
 
Keywords: building a moderately prosperous society in all respects    human rights    jurisprudence    discourse system
 
Modern Western values of freedom and equality and the Western view of human rights are presented by Western countries as absolute truths. Human dignity and freedom have turned into the “meta-jurisprudence” of human rights, and are even put forward as the criteria for judging civilization. To some extent, China’s modernization is also a process of human liberation, which is also based on respecting and developing human rights. Moreover, in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, China has for the first time systematically addressed how late-developers carry out economic and social development, achieve the tremendous transformation from standing up, growing rich to becoming strong, and then safeguard and develop human rights in an effective manner. It is obvious that traditional Western paradigms of human rights have increasingly failed to provide a satisfactory explanatory framework and established answers. Therefore, it has become a major topic of the times to extract new human rights jurisprudence from the great practices of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. Thus, academics in China have conducted extensive research on human rights and human rights jurisprudence and have particularly analyzed the contribution of China’s modernization to the development of the global human rights cause. However, they have not yet established an internationally recognized human rights discourse. One crucial factor is the lack of exploration and refining how building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has fully transcended, enriched and developed the Western human rights jurisprudence. In view of this and with the relationships among people, societies and countries as the entry point, this paper reflects on the limitations of Western human rights values as well as views of society and the world from the perspective of human rights composition, and tries to explain how building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects promotes the development of human rights “jurisprudence”.
 
I. Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Aspects Has Injected Philosophical Connotations of Overall and Equal Human Development into Human Rights Theories and Expanded Human Rights Values
 
A. The historical contribution of Western human rights values: highlighting the human rights jurisprudence of human freedom and dignity
 
The human rights values in Western developed countries define the “jurisprudence” of human rights as safeguarding human dignity and freedom. The essence of jurisprudence is to investigate the legitimacy and science of things. Professor Shu Guoying pointed out that “the study of jurisprudence is ‘sollen’, entangled with the value of law and teleological considerations.”  Human freedom, at its core, is a natural and self-evident right based on human nature. Human dignity refers to the rights of individuals to judge and choose on their own in front of others. From the standpoint of politics and moral philosophy, human right is an ancient concept which can be traced back to the Stoic School in ancient Greece. However, in terms of its political origin, it is since the Enlightenment that human rights issues started to be highlighted with the core concern on preventing autocracy from undermining freedom. In a realistic sense, this concern was highlighted against the background of great social changes brought by the industrial revolution. Due to the development of capitalism and mass production, it was difficult for people to “cut themselves from the society”. Moreover, the sharp transformations in social production and lifestyle led to fewer social resources which people had free control over and relied on for their survival. The institutional premise of free individual life, self-reliant survival and self-accountability no longer existed. People started to rely heavily on the existential provisions of public institutions.  Without them people even could not continue their own survival, let alone realize their freedom and dignity. With a view to consolidating the capitalist system and maintaining the stability of the capitalist labor market, the capitalist countries took a series of phased measures to ensure that poor workers and other vulnerable groups could live an essential life. This will inevitably lead to the paradox between the expansion of state power and the protection of individual freedom. Once the weapon of the bourgeois revolution, human rights now became a prominent issue of capitalist society.
 
In order to maintain the capitalist system, reinforce the legal basis of the Western human rights system, and advance with the times in safeguarding human freedom and dignity, the theoretical system of Western human rights developed social welfare rights and public service rights on the basis of traditional civil rights and political rights. In particular, after World War II, human freedom and dignity became the cornerstone in developing human rights legislation and the human rights cause across the globe. “Human dignity and rights have created the post-war history which tells us about a period when the protection system for human dignity and rights are forged and refined.”  In order to ensure that government authorities safeguard people’s right to live without infringing on their dignity and freedom, it is essential to define the legitimacy of the duties of the government and administrative organs from the aspect of jurisprudence. From that arose two viewpoints: one, from the traditional standpoint of natural law, attributes the legitimacy of government powers to rights protection, constituting the classic theme of Western law philosophy. Parts of this viewpoint evolved into the “basic rights” in the constitutions of Western countries and were incorporated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The other viewpoint first emphasized the state’s responsibility to provide care for survival, and then gradually developed the concepts of welfare rights  and social rights as well as the theory of public services. Ernst Forsthoff (1902-1974), a renowned German theorist of administrative law, was the first to put forward the concept of “Leistungsverwaltung” (service administration) in 1938 in his article “The Administration as Service Subject”, and he also came up with the theory of “Daseinsvorsorge” (care for survival). His theory of “care for survival” is an interpretation of service administration from the perspective of “jurisprudence”. In other words, service is the form while “care for survival” is the end. Chen Xinmin, a famous theorist of administrative law, rightfully pointed out that Forsthoff opened a new chapter of administrative law, which is in stark contrast with the traditional administrative law theory of Otto Mayer (1846-1924), an established German theorist of administrative law. The traditional administrative law calls for the restriction of power, acknowledges the concepts of the supremacy of law, the principle of proportionality, and ultra vires, and does not involve the state responsibility of care for survival.  However, starting from the early 20th century, many Western countries have provided citizens with basic public services including social security, free primary education and medical services. Meanwhile, it is also required by the legitimacy of the state power to ensure that people in poverty live a life that meets the minimum standards. To consolidate the ruling foundation and maintain social stability, any state must provide care for survival and public services. Only by ensuring the basic existence of the people can the state avoid being overturned.
 
B. The Western human rights value system and its shortcomings
 
Based on the human rights jurisprudence of safeguarding human freedom and dignity, Western countries, on the one hand, have effectively constructed a system of “basic rights”, highlighting the defense right function of basic rights.  On the other hand, they built the welfare state system which is embodied in the establishment and improvement of social security and public service system, with the values of individualism being its core philosophical position. 
 
Major Western countries have spared no effort in the long-term and massive legislative work in the fields of social security, education, medical care, employment and public utilities. In 1983, Germany promulgated the extremely comprehensive Social Code. It took nearly 20 years for this 16-chapter code to be completed, and each chapter came into effect after it was available, covering different aspects of social security. There are almost a hundred laws related to compulsory education in Japan. In the sphere of public services, all countries have established and improved their “basic public services” system. The Citizen’s Charter in the United Kingdom is the government’s commitment of service to the public. Social security and basic public services aim to meet the basic needs of individuals and protect their basic rights to existence.
 
Overemphasis on the role of the welfare state may also result in the paradox of autocracy. Understanding the development of the state welfare system from the perspective of human freedom and dignity can also prevent any infringement of freedom by the state and society. Based on this, some scholars take “human dignity” as the “meta-jurisprudence” that runs through and transcends public law, private law and social law.  So far, the “Third Way” promoted by the well-known British sociologist Anthony Giddens and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has become the dominant theory in the mainstream countries of Europe and America. Its core lies in the welfare reform principles: “No responsibility means no right”. It advocates the responsibility and obligation of individuals, that is, assuming the corresponding obligations must be the precondition for individuals to enjoy the welfare right, which breaks the presupposition that the traditional welfare state regards the welfare right as a basic political or natural right of individuals. Afterward, the “Third Way” theory was recognized by the leaders of Western countries., and has become the theoretical guidance for Western countries to continue reform and development of their welfare systems. Yet, in essence, this theory intends not to prevent the government from expanding its power, but to stop individuals from becoming lazy, which does not change the tenet of individualism values.
 
In a word, Western countries take human freedom and dignity as the basic jurisprudence of human rights, on the basis of which they have achieved fruitful theoretical innovations and institutional arrangements, and effectively guaranteed the basic human rights. Nevertheless, judging from its nature, the core of this human rights jurisprudence is setting individual autonomy and freedom as the fundamental philosophical standpoint and adhering to the “principle of non-interference” of classical liberalism. In recent years, it has also focused on the provision of care for survival and basic public services for vulnerable groups, while overlooking the institutional obstacles and individual psychological barriers in the “sustained” “development” of individuals and leaving it to the individuals to address. As a consequence, this type of human rights theory and institutional practices has its inherent limitations, which will inevitably give rise to the everlasting hereditary system of capital and power and the solidification of classes, a fundamental defect of the human rights theory and institutional practices in the developed capitalist countries of the west.
 
C. Improvement of human rights values in a moderately prosperous society
 
First, the human rights values in a moderately prosperous society uphold the integration of universality and particularity of human rights, safeguard the basic human rights of all people, and comprehensively improve human rights protection. The development of human rights in China not only follows the universal law of human rights itself, but conforms to China’s own particular context. National development and the development of human rights in China, a country with a large population and deep-rooted poverty and weakness, must be based on its basic national conditions and its being at the primary stage of socialism. Specifically, in addition to the universal requirements of respecting and guaranteeing the basic human rights, China also aims at the challenges in the development of human rights in the country and sticks to the theme of addressing the rights of its 1.3 billion population to subsistence and development, so as to meet the expectations of its people. It first ensures that everyone is free from the fear of insecurity and scarcity and then enables people to fully develop themselves and lead a healthy and happy life. To achieve this, China, in line with its own national conditions, has established a comprehensive social security system covering the largest population while vigorously developing its economy. China has been developing public services, effectively safeguarding the rights to food, health, water safety and housing, and promoting the construction of public facilities including transportation, communication and electric power; all these remarkable achievements have been highly recognized by the international community. Therefore, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is a vivid interpretation and comprehensive implementation of the human rights jurisprudence of “human freedom and dignity,” which promotes the universal development of the human rights cause from a practical perspective.
 
Second, China combines safeguarding and promoting human rights to ensure that all people can share the opportunities and outcomes of reform and development and realize their Chinese dream. Safeguarding human rights is two-fold: on one hand, the state actively fulfills its obligations to protect people’s basic rights; on the other hand, the basic human rights have the function of defending against violations of state power. As stated above, respecting and safeguarding human dignity and meeting the minimum living needs will necessarily result in the right of citizens to request the state provide social security and public services and the corresponding state obligations. This requires defining the concept of social rights, establishing access to social relief, basic medical care and education as the basic rights of citizens, and recognize that these rights, similar to traditional rights of freedom such as life, freedom and property, stem from inherent human dignity. If the government’s obligation to provide social security and public services is only stipulated but not turned into citizens’ social rights, there will be no corresponding restriction or institutional guarantee to this obligation of the government, which may breed the idea of government granting favors or bestowing charity and even give rise to arbitrary power or power rent-seeking. In contrast, establishing the concept of social rights can provide a strong guarantee for the public to enjoy basic public services and safeguard human dignity. “The demands of modern people for national services will not make them feel shameful as before, for example, when people ask the state for the relief fund. People’s requests for the provision of services by the state and care for survival institutions will no longer undermine their self-esteem.”  Promoting human rights refers to the role of human rights in promoting the well-rounded development of individuals and the society, the mechanism of which lies in the fact that it can stimulate the imagination and creativity of people. The essence of human freedom is to bestow on people rational autonomy and inspire all to realize their value through their talents. To build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is to provide the basic guarantee, launch conditions, safe haven after potential failure and an opportunity to make a comeback for those with a dream.
 
The building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has realized the dynamic integration of safeguarding and promoting human rights. “By building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, China aims to fulfill the people’s aspirations for a better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a beautiful environment. It aims to enable every person to enjoy self-development and serve society with dignity, to ensure equal opportunities for all to live a rewarding life and realize their dreams, to improve their wellbeing, and to promote their well-rounded development.”  In conclusion, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has enabled the transformation from human freedom and the protection of a person’s dignity to its promotion, which is manifested in the fact that it not only protects everyone’s basic human rights, but comes up with the greatest human rights of leading a happy life, promotes “equal development” for all, and ensures that everyone has equal “opportunity to succeed”, thus expanding the connotations of human rights jurisprudence.
 
II. Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Aspects Has Expanded the Social Foundation for Cooperation Between People and Developed the Social View of Human Rights 
 
A. The Western social view of human rights: establishing a benign relationship between man and society based on the social contract and civil society 
 
Viewed from the sphere where human rights issues arise, human rights is a relational category. In the relational perspective, the classic Western human rights theory highlights the independence of individuals in the relationships between people as well as the arbitrariness and non-interference in the relationships among people, society and the state. In a word, Western human rights theory is founded on an absolute individualistic view of human rights, in which the core connection between people is a civil society relationship coupled based on shared interests.
 
The justification of the human rights concept, as a relational category, resorts directly to the social contract theory. First of all, the relationship between citizens and the state is the legal premise of welfare rights and state provision obligations. According to Locke’s social contract theory, when individuals transfer part of their natural rights to establish a state and fulfill obligations to the state including taxation, the government is obliged to provide social welfare and basic public services, ensure that citizens enjoy basic living conditions, a decent life, social justice and equal opportunities. This social contract integrates citizens, who then “authorize the society or the legislature in the society to formulate laws for them in accordance with the requirements of social public welfare.”  As mentioned above, this relationship between the state and citizens is finally confirmed constitutionally and becomes the main content of citizens’ basic rights. Second, welfare rights are intrinsically linked with human rights or the basic constitutional rights of citizens. According to Rawls’ social contract theory, the justice of a social system must meet two basic conditions or follow two fundamental principles: the principle of freedom and the difference principle.
 
In the difference principle, he believes that two other principles must be further met, i.e., opportunities must be open to all but their distribution should be tilted to the socially disadvantaged.  Social justice is embodied in the provision of social security and public services by the state. In other words, the state should not only guarantee right to freedom for all, but actively perform its duties and compensate and support disadvantaged people under the principle of equal opportunities and by means of the redistribution of social or economic goods.
The critical historical contribution of the Western social view of human rights lies in its reshaping of the relationship between man and society. This notion did not abandon the fundamental jurisprudence of human freedom and dignity, but advocated expanding social cooperation while upholding human subjectivity and individual autonomy; it also holds that individuals and the society are in a mutually promoting relationship. This jurisprudence consensus has been accepted by most countries in the world and enshrined in the constitutions of various countries and international human rights treaties in the form of economic, social and cultural rights.
 
However, this social view of human rights, born and developed in the era of industrial civilization, cannot cater effectively to the development needs of the current information society. In an information age characterized by the Internet, artificial intelligence and big data, the relationships between people continue to expand, even beyond the scope of sovereign states. The traditional notion of three generations of human rights is no longer capable of meeting this requirement effectively, and the legal risks of the legitimacy of state control also arise.
 
B. Building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects improves the relationships between people
 
On the basis of safeguarding human freedom and dignity, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects not only actively recognizes and guarantees the first, second and third generations of human rights, but is also seeking to establish the fourth generation of human rights and protecting them across generations.
 
First of all, it insists on the interdependence and joint development of different types of human rights so as to achieve win-win cooperation among people. First, the interdependence and joint development of different types of human rights are promoted. Scholars generally agree that the first generation of human rights is the principle of non-interference in classical liberalism and the right to be protected from infringement (by state power), i.e., civil rights and political rights. The second generation of human rights is roughly equivalent to economic, social and cultural rights or welfare rights. The core of the third generation of human rights is the right to development. In building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, “China coordinates the planning and promotion for development of all rights and endeavors to achieve a balanced development of economic, social, and cultural rights and civil and political rights.”  For instance, not only does the Constitution stipulate the right of personality as a basic human right, but the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China once again stressed the protection of personal rights, property rights, and personality rights of the people, demonstrating the humanistic care of protecting personal dignity and promoting the all-round development of the people. In particular, the independent compilation of personality rights in the Civil Code shows that in the legal protection of personality rights and even civil rights as a whole China is at the forefront globally. Second, it realizes the common development of the human rights of different individuals. China is a multiethnic country with large gaps in economic and social development across regions. The building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is devoted to the common development of all citizens and has made remarkable achievements. “China has established a public service system that benefits 1.3 billion people, including basic living standards, medical and health care, public education, social security, labor and employment services, and public culture. It also includes social employment, social distribution, social security, social welfare, and social order, etc., which are vital to the survival and development of people and social stability. These have a direct impact on people’s life, health, dignity and their meaning of life.”  Finally, it maintains win-win cooperation and achieves social harmony. While safeguarding individual rights, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects resolutely opposes the atomization of individuals. Furthermore, it regards the development of human relations as a way of achieving mutual support and win-win cooperation, rather than being a “zero-sum game”. 
 
Second, China actively adapts to the needs of social development and confirms and guarantees new types of human rights. At present, with the rapid development of information technology, the internet, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence have become the defining characteristics of this era. Countries around the world are expediting the construction of a digital society and the smart society has come into being. Building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects will require the support of advanced information technology. Meanwhile, issues related to personal information rights and digital human rights have also arisen. Professor Zhang Wenxian and Professor Ma Changshan have expounded on the significance and urgency of establishing digital human rights as the fourth generation of human rights and even put forward the notion of “no digitalization, no human rights.”  Currently, the smart society in China is advancing rapidly as reflected in the fact that “postal and telecommunications services have kept expanding, with quick progress in telecommunications infrastructure. IT applications and the Internet have been developing rapidly, and people’s right to communication has been fully guaranteed. Development of 4G and 5G ranks in the forefront of the world.”  At the same time, China continues to strengthen the protection of information rights. Article 1034 of China’s Civil Code includes “personal information” as an object of protection. In essence, it protects personal information as an independent right. All these demonstrate that China is already at the forefront of human rights development in the world.
 
Third, China sticks to the common human rights notions, responds to social risks and strengthens risk management and control. Giddens pointed out that modern society was a “risk society” and modern culture a “risk culture.” When external forces develop beyond the limits where people can solve by themselves, people have to hand over their body to institutionalized social organizations, which provides the space of expansion for various institutions dealing with people’s affairs (such as hospitals) in Western capitalist society.  Risk management and control call for high administrative efficiency, and sticking to the common human rights notions can frame the content, scope, form and procedure of administrative management and control as well as improve its efficiency.
 
III. Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Aspects Has Given Human Rights the Legal Connotation of Peace and Sharing and Expanded the World Outlook of Human Rights
 
A. Alienation of the Western world view of human rights: racism and national competition
 
Human rights, a key weapon of the bourgeois revolution, regarded opposing autocratic monarchy as its core, which was of great significance to the Enlightenment. Moreover, the inalienable rights” theory was subsequently transformed to the “legal rights” theory as basic rights were fixed by constitutions and laws. This made immense contributions to the worldwide protection and development of human rights. The center of Marxism’s opposition to the capitalist view of human rights was not to human rights per se, but to the direct outcome of human rights being used as a weapon by the bourgeoisie, that is, to establish the bourgeois dictatorship and privileges. Though this legal right has never turned into a real right and a universal fact, this human rights theory still has long-term and profound significance as a strong civilization model with self-correcting ability.
 
However, the alienation of this world view of human rights is accelerating with the development of globalization. In particular, some Western countries have transformed the bourgeois human rights view of freedom and equality internally into deeper institutional arrangements and the ideology of racial privileges and externally into a weapon of national competition and even bullying.
 
This is manifested as follows. First, from the perspective of internal expressions of human rights, its so-called human rights protection is primarily to safeguard the superior status of white people. From a legal point of view, for instance, the United States abolished the apartheid system long ago and the first article of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established the principle of racial equality. Nevertheless, racial gaps still exist in the United States. American racists have never given up their pursuit of a dominant position over ethnic minorities, and it is in their fundamental interests to make life difficult for ethnic minorities. This is reflected in the deterioration of the right to existence of  ethnic minorities in the United States, the difficulty in realizing the constitutional right to equality as well as the severe setback of the right to development of ethnic minorities. The basic human rights established by the US Constitution are merely rights on paper, and it has become an unspoken rule that white Americans benefit from racial discrimination. On September 10, 2019, the website of the New York Times reported that the gap between the rich and the poor has not only widened the income and wealth gaps in the United States, but led to a longer life span for the rich and a shorter one for the poor. The polarization between the rich and the poor in the United States is a stable and long-term trend, the main factor of which is structural and determined by the capital interests represented by the US political system and government. As pointed out by Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power” in the United States. The US government lacks the political will to eliminate these structural factors and instead constantly introduces policies and measures to reinforce them. This is their politics and ideology.
 
Second, from the perspective of external expressions of human rights, the developed Western countries represented by the United States are intensifying the unequal order and obstructing the development of other countries. The core of the anti-globalization measures implemented by the Trump administration is to promote white racism and populism and to pursue the barbaric “law of the jungle”, i.e., survival and competition among countries. To reap the dividends for white people brought by racial discrimination, the Trump administration and its officials have not only domestically ignored the fate of ethnic minorities, but scoffed at a community with a shared future for human beings. They have cultivated and developed the culture of racial discrimination, undermined the basic rules and tenet of the free market, expanded the “America First” strategy to maintain its hegemonic position, and even abandoned the precious spirit of the Founding Fathers in pursuing freedom, integrity and tolerance. Instead of self-examination, they are proud of their misdoings. In a speech on April 15, 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “we lied, we cheated, we stole... It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”  
 
In a word, the world view of human rights in Western developed countries, headed by the United States, is more like racism and white populism in greater depth. They describe the relationship between countries as a “zero-sum” competition. This has wrecked the world view of human rights of freedom, equality and fraternity since the Enlightenment and the bourgeois revolution and will also lead to profound human right crises or even disasters in the world.
 
B. The world view of human rights in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects: a community with a shared future for human beings, peace and sharing
 
Unlike some Western countries, the great practice of China in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is advancing the human rights cause of all mankind in greater depth. This is reflected in the fact that China puts forward the human rights “jurisprudence” of the new era, i.e., a community with a shared future for human beings, as well as promotes all mankind to share the opportunities of China’s reform and opening up and the achievements of human civilization and progress. In this way, China has developed a world view of human rights of interdependence, solidarity and win-win cooperation.
 
First, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects enriches the civilized forms of human rights. Building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is not only based on the national conditions and traditional civilization of China, but also drawing lessons from the experience of Western civilization that respects market rules and develops the market economy as well as the crucial experience of Western political civilization, particularly in safeguarding economic and social development with the rule of law. Therefore, the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is essentially one in which China absorbs, integrates into and rebuilds the world civilization. This has established the civilized forms of human rights in China, promoted the development of the global human rights cause, and advanced the process of human civilization.
Second, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects enhances the rational communication of human rights forms. The human rights view in western developed countries is based on the protection of individual rights, and regards it as the sole path or prerequisite for the development of capitalism. China has made globally-recognized achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, and effectively guaranteed the rights to existence and development of all people. This both addresses the question of “who will feed China” put forward by the American scholar Lester Brown in 1994 and enables China to achieve comprehensive economic and social development on this basis. Hence, human rights development must accord with the national conditions in order to make a success. This allows different civilizations to engage in rational dialogue on human rights protection, breaking the hegemony of western human rights theories and achieving mutual learning and exchange of human rights civilizations.
 
Third, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects expands the time-space dimension of human rights. On one hand, in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, China adopts a dynamic standpoint, highlights the scientific outlook of development and promotes the sustainable development of economy and society. Edmund Burke noted that “a nation is a partnership not only between those who are living, but among those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. ”  Building a moderately prosperous society protects the rights of both the current and future generations by integrating the right to survival and development of the current generation with inter-generational justice, which has expanded the time dimension of human rights. On the other hand, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects amplifies the scope of human rights subjects. It attaches importance to the protection of individual human rights as well as the interactive development between people, and it has even developed the content of human rights with the times and enriched its spatial dimension.
 
IV. Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Aspects Constructs a Chinese Discourse of Human Rights
 
The great practice of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects endows human rights in China with profound legal connotations, and will give inevitable rise to a paradigm of Chinese human rights discourse as well as a paradigm of human rights theories. This human rights discourse and theory has the following main features.
 
A. Upholding people-centered human rights and respecting the universal laws of human rights while safeguarding its Chinese characteristics
 
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly put forward the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and realizing the two centennial goals. At the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, General Secretary Xi Jinping further pointed out that building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects was our strategic goal. Building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects must be based on China’s national conditions. At present, China’s major national condition is that China is still in the primary stage of socialism. To build a moderately prosperous society at this stage, we must insist on reform and opening-up and develop the market economy. This requires the relationship between Chinese characteristics and social development rules, especially those of the market, to be handled properly. The characteristics should be viewed in two dimensions from a dialectical point of view. First, the characteristics derive from the special nature of things and hence are true characteristics. True characteristics not only come from the special nature of things, but also require that when comprehending and transforming the world, we must proceed from the characteristics and development patterns and seek truth from facts. For instance, countries have different national development patterns based on their own national conditions. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is itself a characteristic. Second, characteristics refer to the re-occurrence of things, which remain unchanged in nature, in “special contexts”. In this case, the so-called characteristics are false ones, which cannot be used as a reason to refuse to understand and transform things from their own development patterns. The process of China’s opening-up and reform is essentially recognizing, respecting and maintaining market patterns, and China’s development of the rule of law has verified the great assertion that “market economy is the economy ruled by law”. The relationship among them is as follows: Building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is an overall strategic goal, for which comprehensively deepening reform provides the inexhaustible impetus, comprehensively promoting the rule of law offers guidance and standards, and comprehensively strengthening Party discipline serves as the fundamental guarantee. In the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, we always adhere to the people-centered human rights concept and treat the right to existence and development as the primary human rights. This is the most prominent characteristic and it also conforms to the existence and development patterns of human rights.
 
To sum up, China upholds the basic consensus and successful experience of reform and opening-up, and regards developing the market economy as the fundamental path to realize a moderately prosperous society, thus setting the comprehensive development of the market, development of the comprehensive market, the respect for market rules and the rule of law in the market as the fundamental “jurisprudence” of building a moderately prosperous society and a China ruled by law. This experience of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects should guide the global development of human rights and restrain a few countries from fundamentally undermining the global human rights cause with their abominable anti-market, anti-globalization and anti-science actions. China’s modernization and the formation of its human rights discourse have “blazed a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.” 
 
B. Promote human rights development through the protection of basic human rights 
 
In the Enlightenment, human rights in their symbolic or capitalized sense were of great significance to the times, but the development of human rights is a progressive process. Therefore it is necessary to take the national conditions into consideration when developing, protecting and realizing specific human rights, so as to promote the realization of higher-level human rights.
 
First, we must safeguard human rights in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and achieve the modernization and transformation of Chinese society in a stable manner. After reform and opening-up, social transformation in China has brought severe challenges. The unbalanced and uncoordinated development across regions and between urban and rural areas is one prominent challenge. An important issue in comprehensive social transformation is the specialization of interests and the intensifying social differentiation. That is to say, in the process of overall modernization, the Chinese society is embedded in the polarization between the rich and the poor, which causes the conflicts of social interests to appear constantly in new forms. In the meantime, with the aggravation of the polarization between the rich and the poor, the shared community concept and value system of the whole society are undergoing differentiation and reorganization. After over 40 years of practice and continuous learning of lessons, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has successfully modernized and transformed the Chinese society, enabled everyone to enjoy the achievements of reform, opening-up and economic and social development, comprehensively improved the protection of human rights, avoided national turmoil, and condensed a higher degree of social consensus.
 
Second, China sticks to the ultimate purpose of promoting social harmony and individual happiness through human rights protection and ensures that building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects fits the purpose. First of all, we must protect human rights in an effective manner when building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, but it does not mean that its ultimate goal is limited to this. As stated above, building a moderately prosperous society will necessarily encourage people to pursue interests in a legal way and promote economic development, from which conflicts of interests will inevitably arise. It is hard to imagine that people can gain a sense of security and happiness in a society with disputes and conflicts of interests. Hence social harmony is also a direct goal of building a moderately prosperous society and developing human rights. Second, a key motive in developing human rights is to bring happiness to people. In modern Western societies, rights have almost become the indisputable prerequisite for the legitimacy of law. One of its major assumptions is that people’s happiness originates from economic development which then can fill the cultural gaps and make up for the damages to the social structure caused by social changes. Polanyi noted that compared with social recognition, economic benefits are less linked to people’s behavior.  Whether people recognize a system or whether a system can obtain legitimacy depends on whether it can make people live with greater dignity and happiness. This is particularly the case for laws as the main manifestation of modern social systems. Otherwise, we will only end up as the unhappy people in the kingdom of rights. Any legal system that cannot produce happiness has no legitimacy. It is for this very reason that some scholars advocate that “property rights” and “the right to pursue happiness” should be clearly stipulated in the Constitution, and that China’s human rights system should be established on this basis.  In a word, when building a moderately prosperous society, ensuring people’s happiness and realizing the overall development of society must be set as the benchmark for modernization, which is embodied in a society where people’s material life, spiritual life, human freedom and dignity are fully guaranteed and developed.
 
Third, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects gives birth to the theory of a community with a shared future for human beings which advocates building world peace and sharing the opportunities of reform and development and promotes the joint development of human rights. From the perspective of international relations, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects has benefited from, cannot be separated from and will eventually feed globalization and promote the common development of the world. This breaks the so-called Thucydides trap as well as the logic brought forth from the Western world view of human rights, i.e., “a strong nation is bound to seek hegemony.” It also promotes communication and cooperation among countries to achieve peace and win-win results. All these make great contributions to the development of human rights and the coexistence of human civilizations.
 
In conclusion, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects marks that China is developing a set of scientific human rights theories, which has expanded the connotations of traditional human rights, enriched the types of human rights and formed a consensus on human rights. This set of theories should be recognized by the international community as an important discourse system in international human rights dialogues to promote the development of human rights in the world.
 
(Translated by LU Mimi)

* YANG Qingwang ( 杨清望 ), Professor of School of Law, Researcher of Human Rights Research Center, Central South University. Doctor of Law. This paper is a staged result of the “Research on Socialist Core Values and the Cultivation of Rule of Law in National Honor, Commemoration and Celebration” (Project No.17AHJ002), a key project of the National Social Science Fund.
 
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