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Human Rights

Published on Mar 02, 2016

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Human Rights

China Tianamen Square and Russian Chechan War
Photo by Jordan Lewin

Tiananmen Square

  • On 4 June 1989, the Chinese Communist party (CCP) sent 200,000 soldiers in armoured tanks to suppress the peaceful pro-democracy protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, causing hundreds if not thousands of fatalities
Photo by mandiberg

Russian Response

  • Russia's General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev did not explicitly condemn the actions, but called for reform
  • Some private criticism of the Chinese response
Photo by YKevin1979

U.S. Response

  • "We deplore the decision to use force... the demonstrators were advocating basic human rights including freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of association... the United States cannot condone the violent attacks can cannot ignore the consequences for our relationship with China" Pres Bush

Chinese Defence

  • Prevention of Civil War or political chaos therefore
  • "unfortunate necessity"
  • "Counter-revolutionary rebellion to quell the unrest … but also to the party and the people provided useful lessons"
  • political stability, incredible economic growth, and increased standards of living
"In order to achieve thorough victory, we should mobilize the people completely, strengthen the people's democratic dictatorship and spare no effort to ferret out the counterrevolutionary rioters. We should uncover instigators and rebellious conspirators, and punish the organizers and schemers of the unrest and the counterrevolutionary rebellion....and focus the crackdown on a handful of principal culprits and diehards who refuse to repent.“ (Chen Xitong, Mayor of Beijing, on June 30, 1989.)

Chechen War

  • April 1998, Radical Islamic extremists declared long-term aim of creating of a union under Islamic rule and the expulsion of Russians from the entire Caucasian Region
  • Appealed to the "Islamic patriots of the Caucasus" to "take part in the jihad" and participate in "liberating Dagestan and the Caucasus from the Russian colonial yoke.”
Photo by Akula Lopotev

Russian War Crimes

  • 25,000 to 50,000 dead or missing, mostly civilians in Chechnya
  • regular raids of civilian homes - looting, raping, beating, and killing indiscriminately
  • bombing of Grozny, civilian areas, and refugee camps
  • approximately two people per day went missing
Photo by Peer.Gynt

U.S. reaction

  • We cannot ignore the fact that thousands of Chechen civilians have died and more than 200,000 have been driven from their homes. Together with other delegations, we have expressed our alarm at the persistent, credible reports of human rights violations by Russian forces in Chechnya, including extrajudicial killings
Photo by LOreBoNoSi

Chinese Reaction

  • "Jiang Zemin completely understands and fully supports Russia's actions in combatting terrorism and extremism in Chechnya," Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China "understands and supports the efforts made by Russia in safeguarding national unity and territorial integrity."
Photo by infomatique

An Uncomfortable Situation

  • We no longer have the luxury of viewing human rights issues in black and white
  • Is is possible and/or moral to choose the lesser of two evils - a third option?
  • In understanding the cultural context of these two countries what role will we play in advocating for human rights?