(Bitter Winter—September 10, 2021) On September 09, Bitter Winter reported that Xi Jinping, China’s president argues:
Human rights, freedom, and democracy are bourgeois, Western values a Marxist country will never accept.
One of the greatest mistakes of many Western media and politicians is that they do not read Xi Jinping—Xi Jinping in Chinese, that is, because his most important ideological writings are rarely translated into English by the CCP.
The CCP’s daily newspaper People’s Daily is publishing a very helpful series “Questions and Answers on the Study of Xi Jinping’s Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era.” The series is personally approved by Xi Jinping, and the answers are a digest of his writings and speeches.
On September 2, installment no.34 of the series offered Xi Jinping’s answer to the question “Why should we take a clear stand against the so-called ‘universal values’ of the West?”
The “universal values” Xi Jinping is talking about are “the values of ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy,’ and ‘human rights’ advocated by the modern western bourgeoisie.” Xi Jinping is as usual a very orthodox Marxist, and divides human history into stages. The stage of “feudal autocracy” was defeated by the more progressive stage of bourgeois revolutions. Then the stage of bourgeois liberalism was, or should be, in turn defeated by Marxist socialism. The values of freedom, democracy, and human rights, Xi Jinping explains “played a historic role in the process of opposing feudal autocracy.” During that process, they were progressive values. However, within the framework of the Marxist dialectical theory of history, the same values, which were once progressive, became reactionary in the next historical stage. “As the bourgeoisie gained a dominant position, Xi Jinping writes, these values have increasingly become tools for maintaining the rule of capital.”
It is a “clever” strategy of the international bourgeoisie, led by “the United States and other Western countries,” continues Xi Jinping, to “package these values as ‘universal values’ and promote them globally, which confuses many people.” The truth for the Chinese president is that, if one adheres as he does to Marxist dialectical materialism, there are no “universal values” valid for all stages of history. Democracy, freedom, and human rights were useful, valid tools used by the bourgeoisie to defeat the “feudal autocracy.” In the next stage of history, they are reactionary weapons to “maintain the rule of the capital” over the proletarians, and should be liquidated by socialism.
Promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights as “universal values” creates an “ideological fog” whose “essence and harm” should be exposed. An ad hominem argument, frequently used by Xi Jinping and repeated here, is that the United States do not really believe in these values, as evidenced by their history of systemic racism denounced by the Black Lives Matter movement. Of more concern to Xi Jinping is that the “universal values” of freedom, democracy, and human rights were used to cause “the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the ‘color revolution,’ and the ‘Arab Springs,’” “all caused by the intervention of the United States and the West.” Worse still, the West promotes these values in China, Xi Jinping says, to “ultimately overthrow the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and my country’s socialist system,” whose fall is “unimaginable.”
The fact that there are not “universal values,” Xi Jinping explains, does not mean that there are no “common values” such as peace, development, or justice. However, these common values can and should be interpreted according to different political systems and national traditions. How the common values are interpreted in China or Russia is not the same as in the United States or Europe.
Of course, this is the excuse of all totalitarian regimes that refuse to grant to their victims human rights, freedom, and democracy. They claim that these are “Western” values and cannot be applied universally. Xi Jinping’s words are music to the ears of all dictators in the world, and this is why they support China at the United Nations every time its abysmally low human rights record is denounced.
Now, Xi Jinping tells those who are willing and able to pause five minutes and read his writings that it is not by accident that in China there are no human rights, freedom, and democracy. It is part and parcel of the CCP’s ideology. The CCP may insist that there are no freedom, democracy, and human rights “in the Western sense” in China, but these words have a different meaning within the Chinese (or Russian, or Arab) tradition and political system.
This is precisely what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the modern theory of human rights denied, after the Nazis had similarly claimed that human rights were not universal and that Germany had its own different tradition. There are no “Western” or “Eastern” human rights. There are only the rights humans should enjoy as humans, rooted in the common human nature rather than in an historical tradition or political system. Either they are respected or they are not respected. Xi Jinping is telling the world China does not and will not respect them—if only the world would listen.
ChinaAid Media Team
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