Note: Please read this article base on the story angle provided by the title:
We Should Be More Objective When Criticising China on Human Rights Issues or
Understand China—Human Rights—A Progressive Process
to form your own opinion about the content. (Note: I did not alter any spelling or grammas mistake)
The 1841 words article begin below:
Every country has its own unique history, ethnic, social, cultural and foreign relations, economics and political conditions. Therefore, the pace of its social and political development varies.
Since the British Colonisation of Australia in 1788, it is widely believed by historians that - through the combination of disease, loss of land and direct violence, the indigenous population had reduced by up to 80% by 1900. It was only until 1962 whereby the Commonwealth legislation specifically gave the Aborigines the right to vote in Commonwealth elections. And only after the 1967 referendum, the Aboriginal population were regarded as human beings and included in the population census.
As a rich country in the 21st century, the health data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2002 indicated that, the average live spans of the Indigenous population is still 17 years below the Australian National average.
As for the issue of the Stolen Generation, only until 13 February 2008 whereby the long awaited official public apology to members of the Stolen Generation been given by a Prime Minister (Mr. Kevin Rudd), but, this was without any financial compensation to the individual’s victims.
The above Human Rights History of Australia is just a classic example of Human Rights Record of most Western Countries such as USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand.
If the current ethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq is of any implication after the US lead coalition invasion 6 years ago (2003), we should not be too simplistic in our approach when criticising other nations on human right issues - Saddam Hussein’s biggest mistake were to attack Iran, and then invaded Kuwait. His method of administering Iraq may not be the most humane one but at least it managed to pull the country together with all ethnic groups living side by side without the current daily bloodshed and suffering. There were certainly room for improvement in the way Saddam ruled his people and how to make improvement is another issue. Economic sanction and invasion has definitely resulted in more humanitarian hardship for the Iraqi people and the families of the invasion forces.
China is a nation with 56 ethnic groups. The history is complex. There were times when the majority Han Chinese were rulers; there were also times when the minorities were rulers. For example, in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 AD) the Mongolian Chinese ruled China for 97 years, and in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD) the Manchurian Chinese ruled China for 267 years. The facts remain - regardless of who ruled China - the majority Han Chinese or the minorities Chinese of Mongolian, Manchurian or some other smaller groups such as the Xianbei Chinese in Northern Wei Dynasty (běi wči) (386 - 534 AD) - there were tons of examples of capable individuals from other ethnic groups been entrusted by the emporer to run the daily affair of the country. The most famous example, according to the author of ‘1421 The Year China Discovered The World’- Gavin Menzies, General Zheng He who ‘commanded several tens of thousands of government soldiers and more than a hundreds oceangoing vessels’ was a minority Muslim Chinese in the Ming Dynasty.
In Today’s modern China, all 56 ethnic groups have been living together in harmony except some small group of separatists from the regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. Both separatist groups have its foreign backer. For example, Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison in their 2002 publication -‘The CIA’s secret war in Tibet’- spelled out in details with the support of the American Government declassified documents demonstrated that the Tibet separatist movement was financed, armed, trained and backed by the CIA. As for the Xinjiang Uyghur separatist groups close to Pakistan, they were regarded both by China and USA as terrorist groups link to al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.
In fact, the Tibet problem was first created by the British invasion in 1903. The British Government through its Foreign Secretary David Miliband had for the first time recently (November 2008) officially recognises China's direct rule over Tibet and acknowledged that what the British Government did in Tibet a century ago was a historical mistake, using his own word, it is an "anachronism".
59 years ago, when the Communist Party came to power (1949), China was a country in total ruin after century of foreign invasion. One needed just to visit some of the famous National Museum in Europe, USA and Japan on the China section, finding out how those Chinese ancient artefacts landed in those museums, and you will realise what kind of humanitarian crime had been committed in China by those countries between the period of a few decades and a century ago.
When the then corrupted Ruling Party in China - Kuomintang (currently ruling party in Taiwan) lost the internal war to the communist party, they emptied the National treasury and withdrew to Taiwan. In fact, they brought with them over 650,000 pieces of ancient artefacts from the mainland including from the Imperial Palace in Beijing and displayed them in the now National Palace Museum in Taipei (Note: the Chinese name of the National Palace Museum in Taipei is named after the Imperial Palace in Beijing).
Facing a nation in anarchy with deep and widespread poverty, hostile international environment such as the Cold War and the on-going economic sanction by the West, and all kind of sabotage activities by foreign forces such as the Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcast, ‘CIA secret war in Tibet’, and the ‘faceless’ Kuomintang loyalists still remain in the mainland of China. The communist party lead by Mao Zedong (son of a farmer) without any experience in running a country made a number of severe mistakes resulted in catastrophic humanitarian disasters such as the Great Leap Forward Campaign and the Culture Revolution.
However, since then, successive leaderships within the communist party had made numerous significant and dramatic changes and improvements to the party as well as the nation’s system of government and accountability. For example, the term of the national leadership such as the President is limited to a maximum of 2 terms (10 years) - This is to prevent dictatorship. Professor Liu Ji, Executive President of China Europe International Business School observed in one of his speeches that: ‘Direct elections at village level have been introduced comprehensively throughout the nation, and are being partially or experimentally conducted at town or county level, and even at provincial level’. Increasingly over the past 3 decades, it is undeniable that China has introduced numerous new laws and legislations, and is moving towards the concept of the rule of law.
China is a country with 1.3 billion people (65 times the size of Australia population) and an area of 9.6 million square km. There are enormous amounts of problems to overcome - Political stability and economic development to feed, clothe and shelter the population and to raise their standard of living have always been the core priority policy of the leadership in Beijing.
Anybody who has visited China over the last few years will no doubt be impressed by many of its achievements. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – UNDP Human Development Report 2003 – China had decreased the proportion of people living in poverty from 33% to 18% between the period 1990 and 1999. That is, lifting 150 million people out of poverty. The Phoenix News in Hong Kong has recently reported that over the last 30 years of China economic reform, more than 300 million people have being lifted out of poverty.
The American base Pew Research Center in it 2008 Pew Global Attitudes survey indicated that 86% of Chinese were satisfied with the way things are going in their country and with their nation’s economy, whereas the next highest country, Australia at 61%.
Despite such dramatic humanitarian achievement within 59 years of Nation’s building from dire poverty. China is still a country far from perfect. Premier Wen Jiabao had announced on 30th July 2008 a decision to extend free education to include it urban areas students, and subsidise of textbooks for lower income families, and student accommodation for families with financial difficulties. The new policy to invest in infrastructure inland, and the encouragement of businesses moving their investment west-In are just a series of on-going efforts to lift the living standard of the whole population.
In 1993, when I helped a couple Mr and Mrs. Chen whom I met in Hungary in 1991 to apply for some kind of documents through the Chinese Embassy in Hungary in order for them to apply for permanent residency in Canada (after they left Hungary), I went to the Embassy 3 times and queuing up 4 times and gone nowhere. I then lodged a written complaint to the Ambassador about my bad experience with their bureaucratic style of administration, and also complaint about the lack of photocopying facilities within the department to service its citizens. I told him in my letter that, as a foreigner I was doing more to help his fellow citizens then his officers in the Embassy. I received a phone call from the Ambassador Assistant the following day to meet him up at the embassy. After a brief chat, I was told to pick up those documents at the department the following day. When I arrived to pick up the documents, I heard from the embassy staff conversation that ‘He is the man who brought about moving the photocopying machine from the Ambassador office to the department.’ By the way, the photocopying machine looked really old. It is an indication of the lack of fund in the embassy.
This incident demonstrated that the economy of a country and the standard of living of its people do affect the way people treat each other. Like many 3rd world countries, China is transforming itself rapidly and positively. The leaders are there to listen and make improvements all the time.
The recent Earthquake in Sichuan (12th May 2008) demonstrated that China’s government and army are more caring for its people than the wealthy United State President and its army during the Katrina Disaster in New Orleans (2005).
Critics of China should draw a chart and objectively listed down in detail their own human rights record vs. each stage of their economic development over the last 200 years of their nation’s building. Then, objectively compare those facts with the human rights record and achievement of China in its 59 years of nation’s building (given its dire conditions and hostile International Environment surrounding them).
I believe that, this is the only way we could come out with any meaningful discussion and suggestion to improve the Human Rights problem across the world including our own. A genuine Human Rights Believer should act in good faith by suggesting positive solutions in a holistic, impartial and non-discriminatory way across the world.
For the sake of humanity, let us get into the root of Human Rights Issues and find a solution for the world instead of indulgence in mere partial criticism of some selected countries.
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