Human rights awards can’t irritate China

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-22 1:05:04

The US-based Human Rights Watch announced the list of Hellman-Hammett Grant nominees of 2012 on Thursday. Of its 41 recipients, 12 are Chinese nationals, including seven members of ethnic minorities, most of whom either have been or are still in prison.  

In the past two years, more and more extreme dissidents have been awarded a variety of "human rights awards" issued by the West. However, these award-winners have become less and less popular within China.

Thanks to China's enormous development, China also sees a rapidly expanded scale in its exchanges with the West, while the conflicts between China and the West now have a smaller impact on overall bilateral relations. As a result, the impact dissidents could have on the country has shrunk. And their influence, most of the time, is not as strong as those critics who criticize China on the internet within the legal framework.

Extreme dissidents are totally on the fringe in today's China, and the West's attempts to use them to irritate China is unimaginative. As a matter of fact, the voices heard in the West are weaker voices in China, and have been swallowed in the heated discussions on social network platforms like Weibo.

There is never a clear-cut conclusion in terms of the disputes on human rights between China and the West. And there are already quite a few Chinese critics who criticize China's human right problems. Sometimes, they go to extremes, but their criticism is very concrete and clear. Extreme dissidents play an unconventional role in China's reform and opening-up. They can't be regarded as a mainstream force to push China ahead.

There is no positive significance in terms of the West's criticism of human rights, and indeed, it once brought some disturbances to Chinese society. Sometimes, confrontation could also be a way of influencing each other. But objectively speaking, most of the criticism from the West just goes beyond reality, which finally leads to high suspicion from Chinese on the real purpose of such criticism. And all this brings serious damage to the strategic mutual trust between the two parties.

The diversity of Chinese society has lead to subtle changes in the means behind China's advance. In the past, the government could always receive an unanimous response to its calls. Today, there are lots of disputes behind the calls. 

There seems to be more concentrated support from the West for these extreme dissidents, but the climate has changed. Today it's more like commercial PR for the organizations that make such a move. These "human rights awards" are just an attempt to get public attention.

Posted in: Editorial

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