Diversity as the Momentum for Development of Human Rights
October 14,2014   By:CSHRS

Fang Guangshun   Ma Wenying

In terms of the general property, human rights is a cultural phenomenon. It is the result and manifestation of continuous evolution of human culture and civilization. Therefore, in protecting and developing human rights, ample attention should be paid to its cultural property, and thoughts and advancement of human rights should be based on the perspective of cultural and civilization development. The diversity of culture shows that human rights are diverse in nature. The diversity of civilization and culture is the momentum for cultural progress. Accordingly, the diversity of human rights is the momentum for its development. Diversified existence and extensive development of human rights should be respected and protected, so as to promote the realization and development of human rights in nationalities and countries around the world.

I. The Cultural Property of Human Rights
As the name of basic rights entitled to a human being, human rights is a concept proposed in practices of safeguarding self interests and striving for self liberation. Its advancement is the result of development in human civilization and culture, as well as the indication of human being entering a higher stage of civilization. Marx remarked that "the nature of mankind is not something abstract and innate in the individual; in practicality, it is the sum total of all social relations."  The historicity and concreteness of human being means that human rights are historical and concrete. Rights entitled to mankind will unavoidably concern everything and their interrelationship in the society. From advancement and illustration of human rights by modern bourgeois thinkers to multiple efforts to safeguard and develop human rights by the international community after WWII, there have been various descriptions of human rights, but there are also many common grounds regarding its basic domain. At first, a part of human rights "is political rights, to be exercised together with other people. The content of political rights is participating in the community, and political community at that, and in the country. Those rights fall under the category of political freedom; they are a civil rights." 

As the fundamental right of human rights, this civil right is based on freedom and equality. In addition, there are non-civil rights, like right of survival and right of development. The equality and inequality, freedom and restriction, survival and destruction, development and stagnation of human rights are to some extent embodiment of contests between the good and the evil, the two basic concepts of morality.

Therefore, human rights is not only legal, but also moral. However, both law and morality can be boiled down to culture. We have to admit that human right is a kind of culture, cultural phenomenon and cultural product. As a culture, human right has succeeded the simple yet common idea of "encourage the good and discourage the evil" all along.

Culture is a "certain level of development of human being and society, represented in the various types and forms in which people lead their lives and conduct activities, as well as the material and spiritual wealth created."   There are three types of cultures, namely, material culture, institutional culture and spiritual culture. Generally, material culture includes the process of material production and its products, and can be extended to human activities and the materialized objects; institutional culture generally refers to social institutions, including economic, political, legal and religious systems; spiritual culture is "the sum total of human knowledge and consciousness borne by commonly recognized symbol systems".   With human knowledge and consciousness as its information connotation, spiritual culture is carried on all commonly recognized symbols other than technical, contractual and institutional symbols.