Tracing the concept of human rights in Chinese political discourse since the late Qing dynasty, this comprehensive history convincingly demonstrates that_contrary to conventional wisdom_there has been a vibrant debate on human rights throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on little-known sources, Marina Svensson shows how these largely forgotten debates provide important perspectives on and contrasts to the official PRC line. By exploring the relationship between domestic and international human rights discourses, this study offers new insights not only into the Chinese but the Western human rights debate as well. Students and scholars of China and of human rights will find this work an important tool for understanding one of the great issues of our time.
Marina Svensson is assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages, Lund University. She is the coeditor of The Chinese Human Rights Reader.
Chapter 1 Debating Human Rights in China: Introductory Perspectives Chapter 2 The Conception of Human Rights in the West: Historical Origin and Contemporary Controversies Chapter 3 Culture and Human Rights: Between Universalism and Relativism Chapter 4 China and the Introduction of Western Thought Chapter 5 Ideas of Human Rights in the Early Twentieth Century: The Quest for National Salvation Chapter 6 The New Culture Movement and Beyond: Human Rights and the Liberation of the Individual Chapter 7 The Nanking Decade, 1927-1937: Liberal and Radical Voices on Human Rights Chapter 8 Human Rights Debate in Wartime China: Between Individual Freedom and National Salvation Chapter 9 The 1950s: Human Rights Debates on Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait Chapter 10 The Domestic Challenge Over Human Rights: The Democracy Wall Activists and the Official Reaction, 1978-1982 Chapter 11 A Contested and Evolving Discourse: Human Rights Debates since the Late 1980s Chapter 12 The Chinese Human Rights Debate: Conclusion and Prospects Chapter 13 Glossary