Bridging the global and the local: China's effort at linking human rights discourse and neo-confucianism

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This article aims to explore China's attempt to shift the tension between the global value and local difference over human rights debates. In other words, this article examines the relationship between West-promoted human rights and China-led neo-Confucian values within the context of globalisation rather than examining what Confucian values are. In what ways can a cultural discourse be viewed and employed to promote human rights without denying their universality, is the focal point of this article. This article: (a) reviews why universalist versus relativist is a false dichotomy; (b) introduces the reconstruction of Confucianism since the 1980s in China and examines the possibility of re-appropriating Confucian values; (c) elaborates the necessity of nation-states for resisting the threats of globalisation and for implementing human rights practices; and (d) concludes with Confucian discourse, developed in China, as an exemplary case that universal values and particular differences can be negotiated in a way that respecting cultural differences constitutes a universal value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalChina Report
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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