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Rights And Virtues: An Analysis Of Chinese Rights Discourse Through A Case Study Of Political Participation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter illuminates the rights discourse of China through a case study of political participation. It questions whether political participation is a right or a duty from the view of theory of rights. Political participation is categorized into two types: virtue-based and interest-based. Virtue-based participation is duty-oriented. Interest-based participation is rights-oriented. The chapter addresses Chinese rights discourse from the concept of de (virtue) and examine the Confucian ideal of 'rule by virtue'. It then elaborates virtuous rights. To examine why virtuous rights could not be developed into effective rights for individuals, virtuous rights will be compared with 'natural rights' in two aspects: the concept of virtuous rights theoretically rejected the involvement of self-interest; because of the belief that the inherent virtue must be revealed by self-cultivation. Author argues that the Chinese translation of English term 'right' and its adoption indicated conceptual progress in the legitimization of self-interest and individual power.

Keywords: Chinese rights; confucianism; interest-based participation; political participation; virtue-based participation



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