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Human Rights in China The Great Political Divide between Regional and International Regimes

Any remarks and disapprovals from other governments and non-government organizations were to be criticized as meddling in China’s internal affairs (Van Ness 1999). Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore was clear in his statement about ‘Asian values’ and his criticisms of the United States. He was angered by what he witnessed taking place in the West: ‘guns, drugs, violent crime, vagrancy, unbecoming behavior in public—in sum, the breakdown of civil society’ (Bruun amp. Jacobsen 2000, 182). Persuaded that political and civil rights hamper economic progress, he was geared up to lead a new direction for Asia (Bruun amp. Jacobsen 2000). Certainly this conflict climaxed in the World Conference on Human Rights organized by the United Nations in the summer of 1993 in Vienna, where political representatives from China and several other nations got into a heated debate with their counterparts from the West concerning the interdependence, adherence, and universality of political and civil rights on the one hand, and cultural, social, and economic privileges on the other (Svensson 2002). Even though the standpoint of the Western countries dominated at the convention, the debate has not subsided. Evidently, the perspectives adopted by government authorities from China, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries not in favor of the international human rights standards, or as they perceive it, of the Western nations, may be clarified, partly, as a justification for their poor records in human rights protection, particularly that of political and civil rights (Hashimoto 2004). However, the outcome of this disagreement on both academic circles and governments in the West could not be taken too lightly.