Foreign and Military Affairs

China rejects Western standards on human rights

Updated: 2010-07-30 02:41
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BERLIN - China is gradually learning and absorbing ideas on human rights that can grow on its soil, and remains opposed to attempts by the West to impose its standards on China, says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying.

In a recent interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Fu said it seems "controversial and illogical" that Western countries acknowledge China's economic success and contributions to efforts against the global financial crisis, while "definitely" turning a blind eye to China's political progress.

It seems as if the West wants to say that China has achieved all these without the leadership of the government and the Communist Party, maybe in total anarchy, Fu said.

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"I  still remember when I was an interpreter in the 1980s, human rights was always on the menu in our dialogues and our European guests brought lists of names with them," she said.

"Thirty years later, China has moved on, and so much has changed. In 2004, protection of human rights was incorporated into China's constitution. Many relevant laws and rules have been amended accordingly," Fu said.

However, European delegations still come to China with the same stance, accusing China in a commanding way, Fu said.

"I really don't hear much mentioning of China' s human rights progress," she said.

Yet, those political extremists seem to be presenting the whole picture of China's human rights for European countries, she said.

Fu believes that to know the real China, it's not enough to "single out things you are interested in, or only listen to people who talk your talk."

The most important is to look at the benefits of the majority of the people, she said.

"If you think your model is the best, and you use them as the ultimate measure of China, you'll find China does not fit," she said, "If the West insists on judging China by its Western standards, expecting China to become a Western-style country, it will always stay misguided."

"Yet, look around at countries that have adopted your system, how successful they are? Which one is doing as well as you are? Have they approached your GDP?" she said, "Maybe it (the Western system) works somewhere, but not necessarily everywhere."

China, with all its success, deserves respect and calm review about itself, Fu said. China is not rejecting any idea of human rights, Fu said. China is learning gradually and absorbing ideas that can be planted and grown and prosper on China's soil.

However, China rejects the ideas imposed on it, the vice minister said.

As for western countries'reports on China, Fu said some of those were  tinged with jealousy.

Over the last few years, media reporting about China has been more extensive and balanced, but the jealousy is still there, she said.

She said if that people looked back at Western TV coverage of the rioting in Lhasa in 2008, "you would see on the footage police beating monks, but the police were wearing different uniforms every day. Those were not even Chinese police!"

"I am sure those insiders who put the footage on TV should know it was not from China, but why would they still do that?"  she said, "It so damaged the image of your media in China, especially among the young. Your reputation will take a long while to recover from this."