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Human Rights in East Asia

Human Rights in East Asia
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Edited book , Index , Notes
$12.95 (9.71)
“This book brings out new conceptions and perspectives....The chapters on Japan and Taiwan are especially interesting and thought-provoking.”–Yuan-li Wu, Professor of Economics, University of San Francisco, California

Human rights behind the bamboo curtain have always been something of a mystery to the West. Taking for granted the facts that human life is sacred and that civil liberties (as we define them) are the birthright of every man, woman and child, the West has often been puzzled and disturbed by the exploitative and seemingly brutal ways in which Eastern governments, allies and enemies alike, treat their citizens.

And yet, applying Western concepts to non-Western societies, it is easy to forget that every country has its own definition of human rights and that assumptions about man’s place and privilege vary according to culture, ideology, religion and, perhaps most importantly, a nation’s past.

Now for the first time this book brilliantly explains and analyzes the alternative concepts of human rights found in five representative Eastern countries: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. Written by experts who understand the issues from the inside, this highly intelligent and controversial series of essays confronts matters rarely addressed in Western sociological literature:

• By what processes have Eastern cultures developed their ideas of human rights?
• In which ways do these ideas differ from conventional Judeo-Christian notions? How do these differences cause misunderstandings between East and West?
• How has the Confucian notion of “consensual harmony” influenced Eastern ethical thinking? How important is it for a Westerner who wishes to penetrate the oriental mentality to understand this notion?
• How have contemporary political developments (such as the American occupation of Japan, or the division of Korea), as well as modern political ideologies such as Marxism-Leninism complicated the issue of human rights in the East?

Here it is, expressed in clear, fascinating terms. Not just a work for Asian scholars and political scientists, Human Rights in East Asia will take you into controversial territory, providing new and surprising perspectives on ethical questions which the Western mind has always considered a closed book. After reading this book you will never again look at the issue of international human rights in quite the same way.

Table of Contents
Chapter I: Human Rights in an East Asian Perspective
James C. Hsiung
Chapter 2: Japan: the Bellwether of East Asian Human Rights?
Ardath W. Burks
Chapter 3: Human Rights in South Korea and U.S. Relations
Ilpyong Kim
Chapter 4: Human Rights in Taiwan: Convergence of Two Political Cultures?
Hung-chao Tai
Chapter 5: Rights in the People’s Republic of China
Richard W. Wilson
Chapter 6: North Korea and the Western Notion of Human Rights
Manwoo Lee
About the Editor and Contributors

DR. JAMES CHIEH HSIUNG, editor of Human Rights in East Asia, is professor of politics at New York University. He is the author of Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism, Law and Policy in China’s Foreign Relations, and The Logic of Maoism: Critiques and Explication. Dr. Hsiung is a consulting editor for World Affairs, Executive Secretary of U.S.-Asia Research, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chinese-American Academic and Professional Association.