Guest Editors' Introduction

Contemporary Chinese Thought 31 (1):3-10 (1999)
Abstract
The past decade has seen a vigorous discussion of human rights both within China and between China and other nations. It is easy to think of China as a latecomer to human rights discourse, in part because during most of the post-1949 period, rights and human rights were taboo subjects in the People's Republic. In fact, however, there was a rich and contested debate on rights throughout the first half of this century. By translating the most important pre-1949 essays on rights and human rights, we aim to reintroduce themes from this forgotten discourse into contemporary debates. These essays show that the discussion of rights in China has long been motivated by indigenous concerns, rather than imposed from without, and it has been interpretive and critical, rather than passive and imitative
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