ISBN-10:
0674001966
ISBN-13:
9780674001961
Pub. Date:
03/01/2000
Publisher:
Harvard
Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective

Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective

by Wm. Theodore de BaryWm. Theodore de Bary

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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: 9780674001961
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/01/2000
Series: Wing-Tsit Chan Memorial Lectures Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

William Theodore de Bary was John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University, Emeritus, and Provost Emeritus at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

1. "Asian Values" and Confucianism

2. Individualism and Personhood

3. Laws and Rites

4. School and Community

5. The Community Compact

6. Chinese Constitutionalism and Civil Society

7. Women's Education and Women's Rights

Chinese Communism and Confucian Communitarianism

Afterword

Notes

Works Cited

Index

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.

Merle Goldman

As opposed to those who use Confucianism to justify authoritarianism, de Bary persuasively argues that elements of Confucianism have the potential to evolve into a democratic government. With his profound and broad knowledge of Confucianism, he vividly describes a variety of Confucian values and programs that could nurture a modern liberalism.
Merle Goldman, Boston University

Julia Ching

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.
Julia Ching, University of Toronto

Customer Reviews