chapter  4
19 Pages

Human rights, natural rights and limits on rights

As briefly mentioned in Chapter 3, Chinese liberals, in spite of the fact that they all have different formal education levels, intellectual backgrounds and interests, are in fundamental agreement on the urgent importance of human rights and freedom. This chapter reviews and discusses this in detail, and undertakes a reconstruction, criticism and tentative extension of some particular theoretical positions. The purposes of this chapter are twofold: firstly, to defend the idea of human rights, and more precisely, the idea of natural rights, which provides a basis for Chinese liberals to think about redesigning political institutions; and second, to outline a liberal, as opposed to an official, idea on limits on rights, and to apply this liberal view in arguing for temporary limits on the right to secede in the process of Chinese democratization.