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Sovereignty in China’s Perspective


Yonghong Yang

This book explores China’s perspective on sovereignty. The concept of sovereignty is universal, however, the understanding of it varies in different states and due to cultural backgrounds, history or the composition of ethnic groups. In order to comprehend China’s current perspective on sovereignty, the author connects Chinese historical ideas with the current international society. She locates misunderstandings of China’s past and present which could cause misjudgment of China’s perspective on sovereignty. Hence, the author analyzes China’s imperial history concerning sovereignty and foreign policies. She surveys the cultural, political, administrative and legal roots of the ancient empires because of their great influence on its current political arrangements. In addition, the study examines the divergence between the European and Chinese understanding on human rights.

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Chapter 5. Sovereignty and Human Rights in China



Antonio Cassese: “At least at the normative level the international community is becoming more integrated and – what is even more important – […] such values as human rights and the need to promote development are increasingly penetrating various sectors of international law that previously seemed impervious to them.”410

In regards to human rights has China come a long way? At the domestic level, the Chinese human rights situation has deeply concerned Western states for a rather long time. Its particular understanding of the relationship between sovereignty rights and human rights and its rejection of humanitarian interference have been widely criticized by Western states. China has definitely taken a totally different path to human rights policy with Chinese characteristics.411 However, it has cooperated with Western states to improve the Chinese human rights situation and has engaged in human rights dialogs with them. Notwithstanding, even though China has made constant efforts to improve its human rights and its perspective on international human rights is not static at all, Western states would still not admit it unless the ‘democratic’ system runs in China.

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