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Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective
     

Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective

by Wm. Theodore de Bary, Wm Theodore De Bary
 

Since the horrific Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the debate on human rights in China has raged on with increasing volume and shifting context, but little real progress. In this provocative book, one of our most learned scholars of China moves beyond the political shouting match, informing and contextualizing this debate from a Confucian and a historical

Overview

Since the horrific Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the debate on human rights in China has raged on with increasing volume and shifting context, but little real progress. In this provocative book, one of our most learned scholars of China moves beyond the political shouting match, informing and contextualizing this debate from a Confucian and a historical perspective.

"Asian Values" is a concept advanced by some authoritarian regimes to differentiate an Asian model of development, supposedly based on Confucianism, from a Western model identified with individualism, liberal democracy, and human rights. Highlighting the philosophical development of Confucianism as well as the Chinese historical experience with community organization, constitutionalism, education, and women's rights, Wm. Theodore de Bary argues that while the Confucian sense of personhood differs in some respects from Western libertarian concepts of the individual, it is not incompatible with human rights, but could, rather, enhance them.

De Bary also demonstrates that Confucian communitarianism has historically resisted state domination, and that human rights in China could be furthered by a genuine Confucian communitarianism that incorporates elements of Western civil society. With clarity and elegance, Asian Values and Human Rights broadens our perspective on the Chinese human rights debate.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674049550
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Series:
Wing-Tsit Chan Memorial Lectures Series
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.74(d)

What People are Saying About This

Wm. Theodore de Bary combines linguistic clarity with historical scholarship in Asian Values and Human Rights. While disputing the politicians' appropriation of 'values,' he emphasizes the importance of community and communitarianism. He also raises the controversial question of women's dignity and position in a Confucian society. An informative and provocative book.

Meet the Author

Wm. Theodore de Bary is John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University, Emeritus and Provost, Emeritus of Columbia University.

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