The fact that humans are highly intelligent species on Earth and can adapt to the changing environment and constantly evolve is simply because humans can form society, help each other, and develop civilization progressively. Unfortunately, during the long history of human development, there are differences in progress in different parts of the world owing to geographical factors. The industrial revolution started in Europe hence created a rapid development of industrial civilization which was followed by North America and Japan in Asia evolving to a few industrialized nations. Unfortunately, some nations failed to recognize that the recent human history is very short compared to the entire human revolution, even just looking at the written part of human history. In the Earth environment, humans cannot just focus on modern development. Rather they must consider themselves as one species, pursuing continuous development as one intelligent species on Earth. Humans already must face the challenge from climate change collectively. Humans' desire to explore the space to find another suitable planet for humans may take much longer time than what it took for humans to evolve from a four-leg mammal to a two-leg walking human. Even when humans found another Earth-like planet, whether it is habitable or has a species hostile to humans is entirely unpredictable. Therefore, humans must consider themselves as one species to deal with climate change and human society matters. The most important human societal matter is human rights (HR).
It is very sad that our modern human history is filled with hatred, wars and violations of HR. After WW I and WW II, it should have been understood by humans that war weapons had been advanced to the level capable of destroying the entire human species and the whole Earth. If WW III would occur, it would be the end of the world. In the 21st century, humans must focus on the matters concerning the entire mankind, like saving the Earth planet from pollution, reducing the climate change impact to Earth and guiding our society to respect HR. However, on the HR issue, common citizens do understand its nature, but not necessarily why and how they are committed. The definition of HR must be established on the principle that all humans are one species, thus only one standard. Presently, there are misinterpretations of HR. Many nations or races look at HR from their subjective views, thus not only creating erroneous understanding but also making faulty double standards of HR. Internationally, HR charges are often motivated by political reasons. Many who have committed HR crimes are raising HR flags accusing others violating HR. In this author's opinion, we must admit and apologize for all HR crimes committed before then we may prevent HR crimes to happen again in the future.
First, let's discuss HR crimes and how they are committed in the following four categories:
I. Committing HR Crimes in Another Country and Deny Such A Crime
This type of HR crimes often was committed with aggression, i.e. one nation invading and occupying another nation. The most prominent HR crime happened during colonial era. For instance, in China when the Western powers invaded and forcefully occupied land and properties (Example, “concessions” in Shanghai), one found signs such as “Chinese and dogs are not allowed” at entrances of buildings and parks in the concessions. This sign speaks a lot about HR violation. In Africa, the West colonial power committed even far more HR crimes there. Prior to and during WW II, Japan invaded China, massacre, rapes and forced “comfort women”, live human for biochemical weapon experiments, etc., were all HR crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial army. German Nazi's committed massacre of the Jews were also HR crimes, but post WW II the Germans admitted such crimes, sincerely apologized and paid compensations. But the Japanese to this day still deny the HR crimes they committed, whitewashing the “comfort women” crime even after the UN condemned it. Japan continued denying its troop-731's lab germ warfare experiments in China during the war and the U.S. kept silence with full knowledge of Japan's HR crimes. If we could not charge Japan with the HR crime and demand its apoplogy and compensation, how could we prevent such crime from reoccuring?
II.Committing HR Crimes in Own Country and Denying It
This type of HR crime, although being a domestic affair, is still serious and cannot be overlooked. The most obvious examples are the American Indians and American blacks. The U.S. did have legislation established to gradually provide more HR protection to the American Indians and blacks, however, how the historical mistakes were corrected and compensated had a close effect on the future of HR development. When HR crimes were not completely cleared, there would be chance for revival. The HR movement led by Martin Luther King is still alive and needed today. The recent hate crimes against Chinese Americans also have their roots in the past. When a nation has HR crime issue domestically, there is hardly any credibility for the nation to point fingers at others on HR crime.
III.Fabricating HR Crimes and Spreading Rumors
Using media to expose and criticize HR crime is legitimate and sometimes effective. Under international pressure, HR violation may be tampered. However, when HR issue is politically motivated, especially when it is fabricated with improper methods and inflamed with media propaganda, then the matter itself is a crime. Recently, former Secretary of State, Pompeo, accused China of conducting genocide to Ughurs in Xinjiang, arousing a bit of uproar internationally. This serious accusation had no facts to back it up and was disputed by many who visited Xinjiang. And it was denounced by neighboring Muslim countries. The fake news certainly could not stand firm, it only made the media and rumor generator losing credibility.
IV. Culturally Committing HR Crimes and HR Crime Culture
Media is a part of culture. Often, HR crimes are subtly committed culturally without being obvious but seriously damaging in the long run. For example, Hollywood is a part of and a great influence of culture. Hollywood produced movies are well received worldwide. They are part of the American culture. How did Hollywood portray American Indians in its cowboy movies? It was never an image of a victim of HR crime but more an image of a cruel savage killer. Similarly, Hollywood never portrayed Chinese immigrants as hard-working pioneers building railroads for America but silly unwelcome coolies. This kind of culturally committed HR crime should not be condoned, otherwise, it will persist in human societies.
When many people waving the flag of freedom, democracy and human rights, we must understand that there is not necessarily an equal sign (=) between these terms. When you have freedom, it does not mean you have democracy. When support is below 50%, it rarely represents a true democracy (majority of people rules). When you have a system of “democracy”, it does not automatically provides fair HR. The above discussed cases are clear evidence. From 19th century to today, there are numerous cases of HR violations. The U.S. is a democratic country with 250 years of practice of democracy, but HR issue still exists. Racial discrimination has not been eliminated but increased recently. The reason is that we have never tried to understand HR crimes from the above four categories point of view. Only sincerely reflecting and completely admitting our previous HR crimes, can we prevent committing them again. The prime minister of Japan recently hired a consultant on HR, isn't that a joke? Japan had committed so much horrible HR crimes in the past, murdered three hundred thousand Chinese citizens in Nanjing Massacre alone including piercing babies with bayonet, raping women and forcing them to be 'comfort women' and experimenting viruses and chemical agents on Chinese people and prisoners of war, and Japan never showed remorse. Today, Japan is shamelessly following the U.S. waving HR flag attacking China on HR violations. The track record shows that the U.S. instead of reflecting on her own previous HR crimes often pursues regime change plots in the name of HR protection. How can the U.S. claim to be a HR protector with such hypocrisy?
Ifay Chang. Ph.D., Inventor, Author, TV Game Show Host and Columnist (www.us-chinaforum.org) as well as serving as Trustee, Somers Central School District.