- Year of publication: 1998
- Source: Show
- Pages: 3-5
- DOI Address: -
The question of human rights from an Asian perspective
The concept of human rights from the very beginning was involved in political struggle and up to now is manipulated by governments, politicians and various groupings for their purposes. Being deeply rooted in the Christian intellectual tradition its universal implementation faces various difficulties in the countries that belong to other traditions, in particular Confucian and Buddhist. Among the principal problems in the Asia-Pacific region the author points out a collectivist notion of an individual and different interpretation of “freedom”, as well as absence of the legal tradition and the emphasis on obligations rather than on rights. Therefore, in the Asia-Pacific region two elements, crucial to “human rights”, are lacking: an autonomous individual as a subject and the recognition of innate rights. Moreover, the Confucian political tradition elaborated a different concept and structure of state. Under historical tradition and circumstances political aspirations of the people were very low and the movement for human rights could not be born. It was initiated only recently under the Western impact. The author analyses potential scenarios of the future evolution and indicates that the economic development and social transformations in course will increase autonomy of an individual and strengthen legal order, as well as stimulate further democratization initiated in the region merely at the end of the 1980s. However, in order to introduce the concept of human rights to social and political practice a profound transformation of East Asian civilization is required.
China and human rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in San Francisco stressed that human rights are indivisible and inalienable and that human dignity is inviolable. However, it continues to be a controversy over how human dignity can be manifested. In the Chinese history of ideas no evidence can be found to support the thesis that inalienable human rights stem from human nature. Since the 1970s human rights have been a subject of discussion in China. Previously, the human rights notion was characterized as an imperialist institution. While the western countries see in personal dignity consistency with the development of democracy and pluralism, China maintains that it is providing the conditions for existence that creates the universal dignity of human beings. Priority is given to the people’s rights to existence, development and well-being, which means that the most important thing is to provide the population with food, clothing and shelter. Human rights in China is one of the most explosive political themes in debates between the West and China. The more China opens up, the more political, economic and cultural contacts will be created, improving the prospects for democratisation and human rights situation in China.
Japanese democracy – tatemae or honne?
Some elements of the political system of the country are analysed as a contradiction between an official appearance and social reality. Assuming that the democratic system works as a political facade the author puts it on the side of the appearance i.e. tatemae. That contradiction results from different cultural patterns between the East and West, while political democracy standard belongs to the latter. It was introduced in a non-democratic way and is so implemented to a certain extent due to the domination of a vertical system of social dependencies, existing in all aspects of life. It is threated not as a direction how to run and organize their society, but rather as an instrument for settlement of disputes which, by the very nature of the Japanese society, should not exist. The results from the network of group interdependencies, based on the clientelism and from the network “an iron triangle” emerges: the ruling party, bureaucracy and financial elites. The lack of full democracy is also demonstrated by the existence of big discriminated groups of population as burakumins, Koreans and women. The inequality hurts also the others, though it does not result from imperfect law but rather from social practice determined by the cultural values.
The structural reforms in Japan on the verge of the 21st century
The author describes changes in the socioeconomic model of Japan’s growth in the 1990s, with a particular emphasis on economic recession, erosion of labor relations ships and demographics structure transformations, changes in culture and customs, crisis of political leadership and main directions of structural changes, such as reforms of political and administrative systems, liberalization of the economy and strengthening of market mechanisms as well as increasing labor market flexibility. Having reached the current level of development, Japan is unlikely to continue to generate such high growth indicators, as it did over some previous decades. Described phenomena and tendencies demonstrate that the Japanese society one day will face problems similar to those which appear in the West, in relation to economic productivity and political controllability. Economic slowdown in Japan was one of the reasons for the current difficulties in the region of East Asia.
Foundations and trends in Japan’s foreign policy
The author concentrates on economic conditions of Japan’s foreign policy. The lack of own raw materials requires effort for steady sources of supply. Another important problem is marketing outlets. Asymmetry between sources and imports and directions of exports leads to almost permanent frictions with highly developed countries, Japan has surplus with. Japan’s foreign policy is based on its alliance with the US, which is accompanied by developed relations in nearly all domains. Japan maintains the most extensive relations with the countries of East and South-East Asia. Geographical proximity and economic complementarity are favorable factors. Although conflict of interests appear also here, they are settled without major problems. History is sometimes an embittering factor. It concerns Korea, China, Vietnam and even Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Japan’s relations with the Western European countries are maintained at a modest, but steady level. Central and Eastern Europe still occupies a modest place in Japan’s policy, although the latter provides relatively large support for cultural, scientific and technological cooperation. Japan - Russia relations are limited. The main obstacle was and still is a dispute over the Kurile Islands, which were occupied by the Soviet Union in the final stage of the World War Two. While declaring their willingness to settle the problem, both sides maintain their positions, which makes it difficult to actuate of their political and economic cooperation.
Plans of the economic development of China
The author presents economic foundation for the current five and next 15-20 years, during which the authorities wants to increase the country’s position in the global power rank by increasing, among other things, GNP by 47% over 5 years. China is assumed to be in a position to win chances which result from development of inter-Asian trade, increasing the attractiveness of its own market for the foreign investments, whose volume may put China in the second place worldwide after USA and having become the most important market for Taiwan. The economic potential of China is also characterized by a volume of foreign reserves. which combined with Hong Kong exceeded USD 200 billion and continues to rise. One of the main long-term goals is to accelerate transformation and overall development of the Western regions of the country, in order to overcome internal disproportion. Structural changes are being planned, the essence of which is to preserve the total state ownership only buy only in 512 key enterprises or their groups, thus increasing the private sector beyond the agriculture. The strategic economic projects show that the mechanisms, introduced in the recent years of reforms, will continue to be implemented.
The foreign economic policy of the People’s Republic of China and its implications for Poland
The article is focused on fundamental factors of PRC’s foreign economic policy, against the background of long-term growth tendencies of its economy. In particular, quantitative and qualitative changes have been shown to take place in trade, with a particular emphasis on the role of the foreign direct investments and importance of the first half of the 80s, as a key period for establishment of the foundations of PRC’s economy transformations. In the article, the sources of these tendencies have been shown, which result both from internal conditions of the economic development and external ones, particularly following changing realities of the world economy. An evolutionary approach to the foreign economic policy has been stressed as a primary feature of the PRC’s international economic relations.
Poland’s position on PRC’s market depends on our ability of satisfying market requirements in the field of quality and modernity, as well as scale and punctuality of supplies. It will be also determined by our participation in different forms of industrial corporation, especially in the form of foreign direct investment.
zagraniczna polityka gospodarcza ChRL zagraniczne inwestycje w Chinach współpraca gospodarcza ChRL i Polski Foreign economic policy of the PRC foreign investments in China economic cooperation between Poland and PRC
The presidential elections in the Republic of China on Taiwan in 1996
The electoral campaign is analyzed in the context of the crucial political problems of Taiwan: liberalization of its political system since 1987, tension between the “mainlanders” and the native Chinese inhabitants, and the changing role of Kuomintang as a ruling party. The controversy concerning Taiwan‘s future is also outlined: “one China” concept versus independence. The author describes the origins and political options for the main opposition forces, the Democratic Progress Party and the New Party. The struggle of various fractions and groupings inside Kuomintang and the opposition is presented in detail, as well as the tension between the President and the Parliament. The elections of 1996 demonstrated that a new “Taiwanese raison d’etat” was consolidated and the leading political figures in general respected it’s requirements at the expense of their personal preferences. Political elites and the electorate manifested a high sense of responsibility. This suggests that political interests of Taiwan, not emotions, will determine the future negotiations with the Peking of authorities. Kuomintang’s political role with most likely further diminish, whereas the President’s power will increase. The necessary reforms of the political system require from both, the President and KMT, the collaboration with DPP.
Victims of the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia. An attempt at an unbiased evaluation
The question if a resolution is successful or not may be evaluated from many standpoints: successful takeover of political superstructure, changes in the existing social and economic relations, effective interference in cultural and symbolic values of the nation or implementation of declared ideology. The Khmer Rouge revolution - one of the bloodiest in history - brought boundless sufferings in Cambodia. The Democratic Kampuchea was almost universally condemned on the international scene, but on the other hand, it gained a gloomy and sensational glory, because of colossal human casualties, resulted from implementation of its concept of development. Statistically, it is very difficult to count the number of victims, especially that emotions are involved. The article contains an analysis of different calculations of the human casualties of the Cambodian tragedy. The author concludes that the most probable total number of victims can be estimated at 740,000. The number of two million indicated by several politicians and repeated by journalists seems to be exaggerated.
Vietnamese agricultural reform in the 1980-1995
The paper presents the situation of the agricultural sector in the Vietnamese economy during the period of system transformation from orthodox socialism to bureaucratic capitalism. The initial impulse to reform the country’s economy came from agriculture. It required changes in collective farms, then followed a rethinking in other areas of economy and in running legal ideas. The transition of the system is clearly reflected in agriculture reforms. Therefore in the first place, the relationship between agriculture issue and conduct of the Vietnamese leaders is analyzed, including the process of collectivization over that 1950s to 1970s. Here, the nature of this process is outlined, as well as its role in designing a socialist system of agriculture and its consequences. It provides the starting point of the reform that to begun in the 1980s and brought about the collectivization and liberalization of the economy. Agricultural reforms are presented in relation to other institutional changes and a new factors like liberalization of prices, foreign investment etc. The country is open up to the world, so not only politics but also economy must fit the worldwide standard in many fields. Agriculture seems to be left behind in comparison with other sectors. Almost ten years after the beginning of the reform, one of the problems left is land ownership in rural areas, disregarded by the Land Law 1993.
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