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Quanli (Ch’u¨an-li): Rights by Stephen ANGLE

Stephen A

Until the mid-nineteenth century, there was no single term in Chinese that corresponded to the English term “rights” or its cognates in other European languages. This disparity was not accidental: classical and postclassical Chinese discourses on politics, ethics, and law were configured differently from their European counterparts, so the concerns that led to discussion of rights in Europe were handled differently in China. In the nineteenth and, especially, the twentieth centuries, though, a substantial discussion of rights took place in China, albeit one that in many ways still reflected cultural, political, and philosophical differences between China and the various western nations.