China vs. Human Rights
Over the past few decades, the world witnessed the astronomical rise of countries once considered “third-world”. Perhaps, the most quintessential of all is the rise of China. Evidences of the middle kingdom ongoing industrial revolution are present in the air, in its water, and in the vast transformation of the country’s landscape. “A total of sixteen out of the top twenty most polluted cities are in China” (Walsh). While 2010 marks the year China surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy, economists predict it will surpass the US by the year 2020. With its increasing popularity as the world leading economy, China has been under constant speculation from the world media, regarding its international and domestic affairs. The issue of Human rights has always been a heated topic of discussion surrounding China’s draconian regulation. Despite minor efforts for improvements Post-Mao era, Communist regime of China still relies heavily on restrictions of human rights as a mean to protect its legitimacy and social stability. National leaders and human rights organizations around the world consistently pressure the Chinese government to establish fundamental human rights for its citizens, now that it is one of the world’s superpowers. The 2008 Olympics scandals and the recent Nobel Prize controversy put China in the spot light for media criticism. The fight for human rights in China is no longer an internal matter, it is supported internationally. The following case study takes a comparative approach at an in depth look of the current state of human rights in China from the perspective of the 2008 Olympics, the Nobel Peace Prize controversy, China internet censorship, and the recent imprisonment of contemporary artist/human rights activist Ai Wei Wei. An on campus survey at Bentley shows the majority of students have a favorable opinion on China’s economic development. Coming from a business school, Bentley students view China as full of potential and opportunities, a young vivacious blossoming market. However, most students also disagree with the way China handles its human rights issues. The general consensus is that not only human rights restrictions a deprivation on the intellectual development, but also an impairment on China’s economic potential. The story of China’s human rights issue portrayed by Western media is just the icing on the cake. The real issue is much morbid and abysmal. On August, 2008, at the 8th hour, 8th minute, and 8th second, the world turned to China as it hosted the 2008 Olympics. After decades of chaos and poverty, this is a chance that China gets to show the world its power, prosperity and modernization. Beijing sure spared no expense for this historical moment; with the budget of over forty billion US dollars, these were the most expensive Olympic games yet. Twenty billion dollars alone were spent on improving the infrastructure of the Beijing city; thousands of performers were employed just for the opening and the closing ceremonies. Beijing had shown 100% dedication and commitment to the Olympic game. Years of preparation all came down to sixteen days of the Olympics (Burns). And when the games ended, audiences were left with mixed feelings, largely due to a string of human rights related scandals throughout the games. The first from this string of scandals sparked in London, where pro Tibetan protestors made an attempt to steal and extinguish the 2008 Olympic torch, as a gesture of condemnation of “China’s crackdown in Tibet and its wider human rights record” (Burns). Pro Tibetan organizations around the world planned protests at each stop on the torch’s 21-nation tour. Beijing showed no sign of backing down on its policy toward the Tibetans, implementing coercion to suppress the protests. In addition to Beijing’s long history of draconian privacy restrictions, government officials ordered 2000 surveillance cameras to be installed throughout the cities,...
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