Human Rights and Democracy with Chinese Characteristics?

Journal Article January, 2013, Human Rights Law Review no. 13, pp. 645–689

Criticism has long been laid about China’s unwillingness to subscribe to international human rights norms, the rule of law and liberal democratic practices. The United Nations and Western States and scholars have argued that human rights and liberal democracy underlain by a Western rule-of-law model are prerequisites to human development and governmental legitimacy. Is authoritarianism in China incompatible with human rights and democracy? Is the rule of law rejected entirely by the state apparatuses in China? Is there really no human rights protection under China’s Constitution and laws? Has China’s approach to international human rights law evolved since its realisation of the roles it may play in shaping international law? What do the Chinese people think or want about China’s political reform vis-à-vis human rights and democratic practices? With China’s rise in the current international order, these questions raise important issues this article addresses.

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