China: More than Just a Pretty Plate

 My favorite class of the term by far is Global Human Rights, and tonight we had to write a reflection concerning any news article that even slightly pertained to what we had been talking about in class. Human Rights is what I want to deal with when I finally make my way into the world of adults; it’s always been a passion of mine, and  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always loved helping people.

Either way, this article’s about the incarceration of a prominent Human Rights lawyer in China found on nytimes.com
here’s the link to it:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/world/asia/29china.html?scp=2&sq=human%20rights&st=cse
         

   Although one of the first countries to call for the enforcement of human rights, China has always been a perpetrator of such violations. It seems as if the days change but the headlines stay the same, as a journalist, a lawyer, a politician, any person who presents even the slightest threat to China’s current political state is rounded up and sent to jail. In an article from the New York Times, “U.N. Rights Group Calls on China to Release Lawyer” by Edward Wong, the incarceration of Gao Zhisheng, an active human rights lawyer, is briefly detailed, including what occurred to him during previous arrests, and how the U.N. is calling for the release of Mr. Gao.

            This article touches on a couple of topics which have been talked about during class, including certain freedoms which we take for granted and the ever-varying differences between the American’s view of human rights and the world’s. In Chinese culture, it seems as if abductions and unfair incarceration are normal attributes of everyday life, while in America it would make national headlines regardless of the news sources’ political motivations. I feel in my gut that arrest without reason is unfair, unjust, unallowable, and yet, halfway around the globe it happens on a daily basis, with rare media coverage. I also find it interesting how China, a country with such different political views than the Western world, sits as a permanent figure of the U.N. Security Council; although security is not necessarily human rights, it pertains to a part of it, which includes atrocities such as genocide. I suppose it shows how truly universal the U.N. is in its views, how unbiased it attempts to be, but I’ll never be able to get over that fact.

            This article forces you to think; it forces you to ponder our luck at being born into a country which has its flaws, but overall generally protects its citizens as opposed to arresting anyone with an opposite view. We’re so used to being able to speak our minds that even at the high school level, at Loomis, we get into political arguments with drastically opposing viewpoints and no one thinks anything of it. I’ve grown up being told to hold my tongue in public, not to always speak everything on my mind- which is just a common courtesy, not a necessity. I can’t even imagine the feeling of a stranglehold around your throat, forcing you not to talk. I’ve always taken the freedom of speech as a basic human right, something that just is, and to consider the opposite viewpoint, it’s unbelievable.

            As with reading the news, I rarely have questions answered; normally, the questions become asked. I suppose that the article answers why the man was incarcerated- because of his political views, and his significant aid to those who oppose the Chinese government- but to me those don’t particularly seem like acceptable justifications. The article also answered the dormant question of how extreme the practices of the Chinese government still are- which are rather extreme. But as I previously stated, news articles never provide me with relief from burdening questions, never reveal the magic of the world; I’m always weighed down with more questions as to how the world could be the way that it is, as to how we, as humans, could allow things to continue- but then I’m confronted with reality as opposed to the evanescent ignorance of childhood.

            I’m forced to wonder, forced to think, forced to even further question the world whenever I pick up a paper. I wonder why we live in a place where money is what matters most. I wonder why the leaders of authoritarian regimes are so power-hungry, so greedy. I wonder how the human rights activists in such countries manage to live in fear, live forever watching behind their back. I wonder how the public rarely notes the U.S’s inability to enforce human rights. I wonder why the media chooses to be so biased, but then again they are corporations. I wonder how no one seems to note the human rights violations that occur on our home soil. I wonder how long it would conceivably take to fix the world; I wonder what fixing the world would entail. I wonder if that’s even  possible.

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