Are 'democracy' and 'human rights' Western colonial exports? No. Here's why.

Jackie Fielder's picture

In September 2014, students in Hong Kong gathered in a public square to protest some of the Beijing government’s legislative initiatives. One of their slogans was, “When dictatorship becomes a reality, revolution is a duty,” a declaration attributed to Victor Hugo. During the Arab Spring, protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria raised such slogans as: “The people want the overthrow of the regime,” “Bread, freedom, social justice” and “The revolution of dignity and freedom.” Some academics and public intellectuals who study non-Western societies, worried about imposing Western values, have expressed concern about the use of categories such as human rights and liberal democracy. They have instead favored drawing on non-Western societies’ own intellectual traditions and lived experiences. Thus, the academic debate about the form of government that China should adopt has focused on drawing from the ideals of Confucianism.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

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