Power vs. Rights

This is my translation of a Southern Metropolis article by 邵建, 南京曉莊學院副教授, titled “Where Does the Obstacle to Human Rights Lie?” “I have recently received the Social Science News, whose front page focuses on social scientists’ interpretation of the 17th Party Congress. One of the pieces talks about the new concept of human rights protection, saying that the Congress report has one outstanding feature: not only does it affirm the ‘healthy development of the human right enterprise’, it also shows unprecedented frequent use of the word ‘rights’. ‘Human rights’ means ‘rights of the human being’. Affirming human rights instead of treating it as ‘the legal right of the capitalist class’ like the state has in the past is no doubt a good thing. The question is: assuming human rights need to be protected, where does the obstacle lie? Fortunately, the question was asked as early as the 20s in the last century, and history’s experience is open to review. We can try, by taking a look at a historic episode - the human rights movement of the last century, to search for the stumbling block.

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