America’s Role in China ‘s Human Rights

By  Vance Tang

America has been a seemingly very promising and prominent country, but it has stopped and is no longer the most powerful country since WWII. They have been the country of the Free World, and have been one of the most powerful leaders in the World’s history. Although America has won most of their wars, and created one of the powerful nations during the four US administrations, their power is subject to be skeptical. They have not been the strongest and a model country, because the way USA policy is detrimental and unstable with how their country turns out to be, when looked upon critically over the three US administrations after World War

  1. How America’s criticism of China’s Communism has directly affected China’s human rights and development and stopped international development and human rights. I will argue that the US critique from assumptions that America is universally the best nation in the world, rather than being a culturally unique and ideal country for the West. Countries do not grow as a state the same way, then why does America model itself as the ideal standard. I will look directly into the relationship of China after the Second World War, while being thorough with Cultural relativism argues that America’s culture and assumptions are relative, not widely-accepted, in the years following the Second World War. I will show how America’s own perceived information regarding the conditions of China, can lead to impulsive short sighted decisions that affect important aspects in China’s human rights and development.

In my argument, I will be talking about how it is detrimental to make the assumptions that America has made for China throughout the 2nd World War. By how assumptions have created a critical barrier to stop and created determinants towards human rights and the existence of Chinese citizens. I will be looking directly into arguments such as, China has no GDP, because they refuse to accept Western ideal of critiques. I will also look into the assumption that


because China is communist, their policy is directly detrimental to Chinese citizens. I acknowledge that this is how the twenty-first century turned out, but I am arguing that if America did not have this kind of critique, America would not need to deal with China in both the 2nd World War and the Korean War. This was due to America’s perception of China and how Communism was a bad governmental policy for a country. I will critically analyze using a cultural relativist perspective, as to the flaws with the way that America has chosen to win “their” wars. My argument is based upon the circumstances and the situations that China has been put under when they were considered a new country. This is critical because there was no political uprising from the creation of the People Republic of China. I will argue a more in depth analysis about the circumstances after World War II and philosophical theories that may have contributed to the construction of China and how America’s quick assumptions and demonization have created issues for structural progression, even in regards to human rights.

As human rights is an issue for many countries, the basis of continual human rights is in the United Nations Declaration of Human rights. The United Nations human rights are defined as rights given to everyone, because they are human (Universal Human Rights, 1998). For the sake of this argument, I will be arguing that certain rights, which are given without discrimination, are being denied because a country’s status and support is not fulfilled and thus causing issues towards building a secure and stable economy. I will be arguing in relationship to China-

American relationship and how denial of support due to the fact that America has an


anti-Communist policy at the time, greatly affecting China’s ability to rebuild itself as a country, after the Second World War.

Cultural Relativism


Cultural relativism is an important aspect towards understanding this relationship between China and America. I am not arguing that Cultural relativism is the absolute criteria for any other country, but a more expanded criteria to understand the circumstances of China, following the Second World War. America, as a Western nation, took part and won World War II, making it a country who is superior to the East or Asian countries. Cultural relativism is defined as having norms and realities that exist subjected to a certain culture, and by which there are no universal norms that people are held to (Beghramin, 2015). For the sake of this argument, I am assuming that there is a certain degree of understanding for a culture, to judge another country based on their own subjective criteria. It is immoral, but has held and stopped international affairs with China. I acknowledge that there are certain universal morals, but I will be evaluating them based on the circumstances of how China dealt with communism and their basis of subjective and societal morals are more cultural relative and bound.

Historical Overview


America, during Eisenhower’s administration, was trying to recover from the Second World War. At this time, their political views were swayed to secure that Communism would not create America’s perspectives. Eisenhower initially stated that he would not sign or endorse a multinational human rights treaty (Donnelly, 2017, 366). Furthermore, this is what led to how the Bricker Amendment that stopped the Americans from taking up civil and political human rights or foreign influence (Kaufman, et al. 1988, 309). The main issue of both Communism in international affairs and preventing the basic human rights in the American congress was because of the Bricker Amendment (Donnelly, 2017, 366). The Bricker Amendment was considered to deter from what Americans viewed as “back-door Communism”(Kaufman, et al.

1988, 310).The self-proclaimed leader of the free world was acting as if human rights concerns


were undermined by the attack of Communism from the Soviet Russia (2017). For America, it was seemingly that to be anti-communist and anti-human rights and anti-international influence was subjected.

America’s room for anti-Communism is clear throughout the information provided.


America’s perspective for this kind of thinking has been demonized since the First World War. Communism/Socialism is a bad ideology and using it on a political level will never progress a country, while suspecting those Communist perspectives (W. H. D. R, 1948, 440). My perspective is not that Communism is the best approach to creating a country, my concern is when you put all proposed legislation and propositions, in a Federal senate, to a demonized Communist ideal just too legally and unanimously dismiss it.

China was more of a country trying to create good profit, although China was solely based upon a Communist margin, there were logical issues that constrained China due to a constant civil war that enveloped a country. While China was confronted with a civil war that desecrated the country, with constant civil war for power between countries, they still had to fight in the new World War, the second. I am not saying that these restrains or cultural relativism are any excuse to allow China to do whatever they wanted, but this is what Chairman Mao thought was right, in the given context, and by creating distant relationships with America greatly affected how China grew as a country (Pauly, 2012, 829). As China faced its greatest challenges as a nation, unsure whether they were to assert a Communism country, based upon many drastically different politics that enveloped China during the end of the Kuomintang Government, played a significant role in how China was to be rebuilt (Hookham, 1979, 170).

The wars that happened after the Kuomintang government was mainly because of two ideological giants that existed (Anstey, 1987, 316). The Communist Party of China was more of


a balance between the Russian and the America’s ideologies. With China having their own civil war of many different politics, Japanese people sat back and invaded China many times to gain power over China or at least assert a better relationship directly with the Chinese government (Civil War in China, 1924, 527). It was only then, that the constant struggle for a nation, China, became an issue for American politics.

With China under drastic disarray, due to the Kuomintang government, Peking government, Chairman Mao’s new Communism, Japanese people, and even the people uprising and using coup d’état as a way for Capitalist revolutions, China was certainly bound and constant civil war to a degree that is unimaginable (1924). America used this communist idea, their own perceived idea of Communism, that influenced countries like China and Russia’s ideal, and believed it would take over their country (Kaufman, 1988, 310). For America, Communism ideals were distraught and only could harm the country, even though China and Russia as a state have both succeeded through civil war.

In China’s defense against the use of America’s anti-Communism, I would argue Maslow’ Hierarchy of Needs would be relevant for the development of China without American influence of anti-Communism, as to why Cultural relativism is relevant to the evaluation of China’s crisis (Johns, 2017). I am not saying that China did everything right and ethically correct, but due to Nixon’s presidential system and international affairs, that was China’s only option. I would argue being able to build a country in relevance with the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is based upon a socio-psychology that defines the satisfaction of moving up the ladder of growth in an individual. The layers of the pyramid begins with Psychological – the sleep, rest, food, water, and basic needs that are required for a human being. The next layer is security- whether an individual has the safety, security, money and


personal wellness are evaluated at this level of satisfaction. The layer above is love and belonging, the sense of having relationships and how they impact a person. As a country, I can expand these relationships to the state level, because it impacts how a state is going to build itself when it has these levels satisfied. China was not going to take any understanding from Americans, especially when their policy is anti-Communism and their presidents were very

anti-Communist. This is why a heavier evaluation is required to understand a nation that is completely different from America. China was still building its own ability to supply water, food, basic security for their citizens.

To assume that a certain political structure was enough to be a part of the international community is irrelevant. Assuming to disregard China as an insufficient nation is like saying that to judge another person’s ability, disregarding the context of how they are, and the situation they were in to be politically capable is not an appropriate criteria. America’s assumptions and judgements can be equivalent to saying that they can hate other nations just because of what they think they believe. Let us assume a hypothetical, looking at Freedom of Speech. Let us also assume three different people. Two people at the national airport terminal. He is with his colleague chatting about an issue at work. The third person would sit back and listen to their conversation, named Bob. The two people who are chatting ends up saying a derogatory comment, such as slavery, homophobic, racist or cynical. The only other problem would be that Bob only heard the derogatory comment and nothing else in the conversation. Yet, Bob acts on this cynical ideology and tells a Terminal Special officer about it. To be able to act on this without situation or context would make any conversation very cynical. To think that because you had this idea of a person, because of a comment he said, without context or situation of the conversation, and to act upon this and tell an official because of what Bob thinks, is what is


cynical. My point is not that we should not repress phobic language, but without understanding why they talk about it or the context in which they are talking about is toxic. This scenario would be similar to America making assumptions based entirely because of the fact that China has declared itself to be Communist country. China certainly endured many political opinions and was only building itself to be able to handle the growing economy and globalization.

China already resisted the capitalist theory, Japanese rule, Chinese dynasties rule, and


far-right wing thinkers. China has already been brought back down to the bare minimum of what they had, due to all this fighting and a coup d’état, and whether it was sure going to be successful because of a communist ideal. For China to be able to develop a country to prosper so they can be concerned with other issues would be relevant to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. China also went through a famine for a segment of time, where even the basic levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs were affected (Johns, 2017). Therefore, having an understanding over a more thorough understanding of the issues that countries have had to deal with, which was cultural relativism and understanding why this was a problem. I am not saying that Cultural Relativism is an excuse for China’s actions and human rights violations, but when America begins to ignore another country based on what they think to be the conclusion of their political view and disregard them as so, which creates foundations for political and civil human rights violations.

How America created issues for China’s human rights. (Argument) In contemporary China, China was already having a war for what is now called People’s Republic of China. Despite all these attacks on China’s land to occupy, there were many distinct political changes. China was trying to change from a democratic to a communist ideological country, due to the change in government and the civil wars that were led from Japan after the First World War (Donnelly, 2007). At the same time, America was giving Turkey and Greece financial aid,


although they both have had civil wars that changed their respective governments (Merrill, 2006, 32). After the Tiananmen Square incident, China was evidently in killing their citizens, but America themselves stopped financial support for China’s actions (Donnelly, 2007). American initially stopped their funding, due to China’s action in the Tiananmen Square incident, but it was evident that it was also because China was communist. Greece and Turkey stayed away from a communist government rule, but America was still giving funding to China with Greece and Turkey. I am not saying that because America’s direct financial funding has affected China’s human rights, but it certainly played a role in denying China’s ability to build their country, then form proper policies for ensuring human rights. In relationship with Maslow’s Hierarchy, if a country cannot have food, water, or the basic security as a nation, they cannot build on aspects for self-actualizing and optimal qualities. Self-actualizing as in securing the demands of other nations’ through the United Nations councils, for example the human rights that grant every person in a state political, social and financial rights. Although human rights in China was a violation in 1949, the constant struggle trying to change ideologies after a civil war is evident in holding a country back from building a nation functional with human rights (2007). I am not arguing to excuse China for any of the atrocities committed, but if America was consistent with their support with nations, then there could have been better foreign relationships and negotiations to help build China’s human rights platforms. America and being one of the permanent members of the United Nations does play a big role in decision making towards China and building from its ideological and civil war (2007).

For the uses of Cultural relativism, it would change how America is looked at, as being the highest standard of morals (Kaufman et al. 1988, 309). America is using a universalism approach to critique China’s morals based upon what they believe are justified. This is why


America should have judged China’s actions on a more cultural relativist approach, rather than denying proper relationships based on what China says is Communism. I am not saying that cultural relativism is the greatest philosophical theory, I am arguing that China would be analyzed with a more understanding approach.

In the Asian values argument, Donnelly talks about how cultural relativism arguments are contingent and consistent to their specific cultures. He argues how the cultural relativist approach is inconsistent with their Asian values argument. He argues cultures have always changed and configured itself to what is relevant to current day societies, for example democracy and adequate governments. He argues that if Asians do something different back in the day, that Asians do not wish to change that they do now (Donnelly, 2007, 163).

My Asian values’ argument is not that cultures and human rights abuses are excused because they are of different cultures. My argument is that cultures can judge themselves, due to understanding of context and situation that culture is dealing with, rather than having other countries judge them based on universalistic approach. By having a West meets East argument of critiquing and judging each other’s leaders on the decisions they make, they make West look like the moral and cultural superior ones. Since Western countries think that Communism has affected them detrimentally. America’s universalism approach to Communism is a human rights’ hazard. My argument is more formulated on the premise that countries should be able to judge themselves, because they understand the situation, circumstance and how they are, rather than having countries use a Universalist approach to judge each other, disregarding a country’s critical problem. Because of Communism, America saw a need to contain it and ward against it. Cultural relativism is not excusing China for human rights violations, it is expanding America’s ability to critique and make judgements based on their perspectives.


In conclusion, I have looked at America’s perspective of anti-Communism, how


anti-communism was created and how taking a more cultural relativist perspective can change their analysis of China. Although these strained perspectives of anti-Communism began in the First World War, by keeping a universalistic perspective have harmed the progression to China’s human rights.


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