Xi’an students protesting. The rallying cries of activists echoed throughout China’s turbulent twentieth century.
Scholars, politicians, and activists—inside and outside of China—have long debated the theories behind and the application of human rights in the world’s most populous country, and Western media thrives on stories denouncing China’s human rights record. This debate probably causes more misunderstanding between China and the West than any other.
The history of human rights in China divides into three parts: the