West's perspective on human rights not the only one

By Tom Zwart ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-01-21 07:19:35

Insisting on dialogue instead of confrontation

There can be no doubt that the dialogue model promoted by China fits well in the international human rights regime. Choosing dialogue instead of confrontation not only leads to a different tone and format, but also serves a different end. When actors engage in confrontation they try to portray their own position on human rights as the only one which is valid and legitimate. When actors engage in dialogue their aim is to find common ground by developing a mutually acceptable solution. They are willing to give up their own human rights position for the greater good of reaching agreement.

Generally, Western states seem to be strongly attached to promoting their own position and using it as a benchmark to judge others, this comes at the expense of finding common ground, which may explain why some of the human rights dialogues are not very fruitful. This demonstrates that the ambitions are different. While Western states are uncompromising about their own stance on human rights, China is keen on achieving harmony and therefore attaches less value to human rights dogma.

West's perspective on human rights not the only one

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