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8 Human Rights, Revolutionary Legacy, and Politics in China

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Chapter Summary

Observers of China's human rights situation tend to view the rise of rights as a result of China's economic liberalization and market reform. They believe the issue of rights is on the agenda because China is getting on track with global standards in trade and markets and is undergoing political and legal reform. The invocation of human rights, however, often proceeds on a biased divide that pits liberal democracy against authoritarianism that represses individual liberty. This chapter looks at rights consciousness and practices in today's China, which shows the continued relevance of the revolutionary legacy, which favors socioeconomic rights, the people-oriented state, and closer ties between society and government. The chapter shows that Marx's thinking about rights and labor has underlined Chinese thinking about the question of rights in relation to revolutionary movements and socialism.

Keywords: China; economic liberalization; human rights; politics; revolutionary legacy; socialism



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