Thursday, July 24, 2008
Here's a mini-profile of Teng Biao (腾彪) in the July 23rd issue of the Financial Times. Check out in particular the embedded video in which Teng talks about his work. I have met Teng on several occasions; this soft-spoken man is truly admirable. I would be proud to have half his courage.
When people like Teng stick their necks out, what values are they sticking them out for? This, I guess, is my disagreement with those who insist that it's Eurocentric or narrow-minded or whatever to support the standard menu of human rights in China, and that "the Chinese" must find their own way, perhaps on some kind of Confucian foundation. When you get right down to it, the proponents of various schemes of managed democracy, popular consultation, corporatist assemblies, etc. do not risk their livelihoods and their personal safety to promote their views in China; people like Teng Biao do. He is as Chinese as all the others, and what he does is a legitimate part of China finding its own way. If he is willing to take these risks to support the standard menu of human rights, should the rest of us be too paralyzed by the fear of being accused of unthinkingly subscribing to the assumptions of some hegemonic ideology to support him? (Rhetorical question!)