For the first time, China unveils a “human rights plan.” Should we head out to buy fireworks now? No.
When is the last time that China drafts a “plan” that contains language so vague that can be subject to all kinds of interpretation? Probably last week. When is the last time that China drafts a “plan” that would restrict the government in anyway? Probably never.
This so-called human rights plan is nothing but a sham; it’s nothing but a foot soldier of the so-called harmonious society, which does not shy away from terminating almost anything for the sake of “stability,” even though most often than not, the sign of instability is never proven or hinted. Reading through the plan, one can easily find that it’s premised on economic growth, not the reform of (or merely restoration to that showcase) constitution. Most of the rights mentioned in the plan are actually included in the good-for-nothing constitution. If China is really serious about these rights, it can simply say “now, I decide to respect my constitution.” Making the rights bestowed by the government rather than the constitution, it’s easy for the government to take them away as soon as it feels its comfort zone has been violated.
For example, one of the rights is the right to a fair trial. How does this government, or any government guarantee fair trials? They can’t. One cannot give others a fair trial if one is the judge, the jury, and the executioner at the same time. If the judiciary is not independent, it definitely will not be fair in cases where the government is the defendant, which is already very rare in China; it may or may not be fair in everyday cases like neighbor disputes. If it’s not fair in those cases, or if the judges take bribes, a free media can disclose these. Oh, wait, media freedom is not mentioned in this “plan,” even though it is in the constitution.
This plan is no different from the numerous effects of the government to fight corruption of its officials, on its own! The fate of this plan will be similar to the fate of the “Olympics protest zones”: “fire away your protest ‘applications’ if you want; we will deny them all; and if you are lucky enough, we will re-educate you through labor.”
Since this plan is so heavily premised on economic stability, here is a quote that perfectly fits in:
“If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.” —W. Somerset Maugham