Education About Asia: Online Archives

Human Rights in China: The Search for Common Ground

Download PDF

A FILM BY RAYMOND OLSON
SACRED MOUNTAIN PRODUCTIONS
VHS. 50 MINUTES. COLOR. 2004
DVD. 114 MINUTES. COLOR. 2004
ENGLISH ONLY (NO SUBTITLES, OCCASIONAL TRANSLATIONS AS VOICEOVERS)
DISTRIBUTED BY SACRED MOUNTAIN PRODUCTIONS, PMB 157,
16420 S. E. MCGILLIVRAY, SUITE 103, VANCOUVER, VW 98683-3461

Sociologist Raymond Olson uses recorded interviews and striking video footage from contemporary China to take the viewer inside one of the most fascinating intellectual arguments and most frustrating political conundrums in modern China studies. The question at the core of this video is whether human rights are “universal” as defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the nascent human rights regime being developed under international law, or whether the very concept of human rights is a Western conceit imposed on a culturally diverse world where the value systems that undergird human society and social order are sometimes quite different from those that shaped the rights-based American and French Revolutions. The Confucian moral order, based on right relationships within the Chinese community, becomes the test case for this intellectual premise that argues a kind of cultural relativism; the often lamentable human rights record of the Peoples Republic of China and the Communist Party leadership becomes the counterpoint that argues for the universal application of absolute principles of human rights.