Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 7: Subsistence, poverty alleviation and right to development: between discourse and practice

Wim Muller


Subsistence, poverty alleviation and the right to development are international human rights, but also have an ideological and legitimizing meaning for the Communist Party of China. The achievements of the People’s Republic of China in these fields are genuinely impressive. However, political and ideological constraints make it difficult to get an accurate sense of what exactly it has achieved. In addition, the Chinese government has a tendency to conflate developmental and (human) rights discourses, favoring the more general nature of the former at the expense of some essential features of the latter. This chapter takes a discursive approach to set out how these rights are to be understood in human rights terms on the one hand, and how they are used in the PRC’s discourse on the other. In addition, it provides some essential points which students of these rights in China should bear in mind.

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