From Chinese Press

Human rights dialogues need mutual understanding

Updated: 2011-05-04 16:52
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The China-U.S. human rights talks held in Beijing from April 27 to 28 have attracted wide attention. Human rights reflect the respect for human dignity and values. It is not surprising that various countries have differences on human rights issues because of the differences in social systems and their historical and cultural development.

However, some Western countries have failed to abandon the "Cold War" mentality. They divide countries by ideology and use so-called human rights issues to suppress and vilify developing countries. This has resulted in conflicts in the international human rights arena and serious political confrontations. In order to promote the healthy development of international cooperation on human rights, China first proposed the human rights talks in the 1990s, and the international community has gradually accepted this idea.

A dialogue should be interactive and a two-way communication, exchange and understanding rather than a one-way indoctrination, oppression or even interference. The two parties engaging in dialogue have fully equal status rather than a relationship between teacher and student. Therefore, neither party is eligible to be the teacher. In addition, since it is a dialogue between countries, it should be implemented under the framework of the "Charter of the United Nations" and follow the spirit of the respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs that is formulated by the charter.

Therefore, equality and mutual respect should also be the principles of the international human rights dialogue and the premise for China to launch talks with other countries. Based on this premise, China launched the human rights talks with the United States in 1990. Afterwards, China also launched human rights dialogues or consultations with nearly 20 countries and organizations, such as Britain, Germany, the European Union, Russia, Australia and Cuba. The human rights talks include both Western countries and developing countries, and the achievements of human rights dialogues are obvious.

The human rights talks have enhanced mutual understanding. It is difficult for people from various countries who have different beliefs and culture to fully understand each other's ideas, thoughts and actions. This will inevitably lead to misunderstandings and misjudgments, particularly in the complicated and sensitive field of human rights. The talks have established communications channels and reduced rumors and presumptions. Each side has set forth its own beliefs, positions and practice related to human rights, frankly exchanged views, improved understanding and found increasingly common grounds. This is significant to address the disagreements between two countries and advance bilateral ties. Some foreign human rights representatives often said upon the conclusion of the talks that the situation of human rights in China is not bad and the related achievements accomplished by China are clearly evident. China has overtaken developed countries in many respects of human rights practice and China's human rights situation is absolutely not as awful as some Western media agencies have reported.

The human rights talks have advanced human rights progress. The human rights situation in any country is imperfect and the human rights practices of any country surely have their own merits. Chinese units participating in the human rights talks and technical cooperation projects in the field of human rights generally involve government departments of diplomacy, the police, prosecution, judiciary and religion as well as academic institutions and non-governmental organizations.

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