Economy, Human Rights and the West – Richard Spencer

Richard Spencer reflects on arguments that critics of China’s human rights record are just reacting to the country’s economic might:

The rise of Chinese industry as manufacturing shuts down in the west, the bullishness of Asia, including its financial markets, while meltdown threatens everywhere else, the general rise of China while American and British indebtedness looks chronic and incurable… all this prompts a nervous west to cry foul. The foul is, of course, China’s human rights record.

That’s the claim…

There’s a lot of yah-boo argument out there on the “western concern about human rights is hypocrisy” issue: pro-America/west versus pro-China. But I find often impossible to separate pro-China and pro-America arguments from one another.

Here are some points. I’m sort of taking it as read that a) China’s human rights record is poor and that b) it’s better than it was 30 years ago; but I’m also leaving unaddressed the question of whether over the short term (five to ten years) it’s getting better, worse, or staying the same. [Full text]

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