Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Refinement of Theories of Post-Global Empire: Thoughts on Jiang Shigong, Trade and Human Rights (Part 2): Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire ( 强世功|贸易与人权 (下) ——世界帝国背景下的中美竞争 )


 Certainty since the start of the 21st century Jiang Shigong has proven to be one of the most innovative thinkers on China--and also one of China's most prescient thinkers and theorists. His theoretical work on Chinese constitutionalism but has also produced some controversy for the way in which it has sought to understand the development of Chinese constitutionalism on its own terms. Those terms, of course, are not compatible with the fundamental norms of liberal democratic constitutionalism, but then they were never meant to. Much of this development of Chinese constitutional theory was undertaken with a sensitivity to its comparative aspects, that is with a sense of tying Chinese constitutional developments to the broader global constitutional conversations.

Jiang Shigong has also been writing about sovereignty and constitutional ordering.  Perhaps his most influential work on that topic was focused on Hong Kong and the 'One Country-Two Systems' Principle. (discussed on my Book, Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems' at Chapter 2 (Access Free)). Jiang's work has been quite influential, if controversial, in China.  Much more controversial abroad, if only because he starts from a Chinese Marxist Leninist lens rather than from that of liberal democracy.  And yet in that effort he highlights both then normative differences between systems and the way that as an ontological project, Chinese constitutionalism fits well within the broad stream of that field as an authentic expression of a political vision, though one the normative baselines of which are fundamentally incompatible with those evolving in liberal democratic systems (and thus two epistemic communities within the field of constitutionalism). Within his epistemic community, Jiang is one of its leading forces certainty as a reflection of the arc of development of Chinese Marxist Leninist constitutionalism under the leadership of the current leadership core in in thre "New Era" historical stage of Chinese development (as they see it).

It is with that in mind that it may be useful to read Jiang's recent essay:  贸易与人权 (下) ——世界帝国背景下的中美竞争 (Trade and Human Rights (Part 2): Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire ). The essay was originally published in  "Cultural Landscape" 6:90-103 (2021) and was reproduced in 3 January 2022 on the 文化纵横website. The article suggests not merely the extent of the arc of separation between liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist constitutional ordering but the way those normative starting points are then projected outward as ways of understanding, rationalizing, and approaching engagement with the world beyond national borders. It continues to develop Jiang's quite useful theory of empire--at least half of it anyway, looking out at the construction of the America First post global imperial order without then reflecting on how it shapes the construction of the Belt and Road post-global, post-colonial normative and economic imperium in its own right. Yet half is more than enough to to get the sense of the whole in a constructive way.

The theme is one that Jiang has been writing about from a set pf related perspectives (see, e.g., 强世功: 贸易与人权的隐秘逻辑 (Jiang Shigong: The Hidden Logic of Trade and Human Rights) 8 January 2022; a subject of a later post). It speaks both to the normative autonomy of Chinese constitutionalism, and to the way that conflict over normative superiority has helped shape the global community, as well as attitudes of increasing detachment between these two epistemic communities. But that conflict suggests not merely threat but opportunity.  The best defense is offensive--projection out of Chinese values and Chinese constitutionalism through its Belt and Road network; the reshaping of discursive baselines within international organizations, and the discrediting or at least the challenge by Chinese Marxist Leninist constitutionalism of the dominance of liberal democratic structures, norms,and values as the only or best baseline for evolving world institutions and for promoting national development. 

One must concede, I think, that it is now foolish for liberal democratic elites to take for granted a dominance that some say they might have dissipated through their own conceptual and factional follies since the turn of this century, and certainly since the time of the global financial collapse of 2006-8. That may be forgiven, there is no growth without conflict.  And indeed, Jiang's contributions are part of a rich and sometimes contentious conversation within the Chinese academic and policy circles. But the neglect of political elites in the face of this now years long challenge might be less excusable, both in form and function--certainly from the perspective of those who wish to hold high the banner of liberal democracy as a baseline standard for the world order. Nonetheless, those discussions are strategic and political.  It is the normative argument that Jiang makes that ought to be studied for what it says about the state of knowledge and the lens through which an important element of the global constitutional community from outside the liberal democratic tradition now approaches issues of global ordering concern--including its normative basis. It also signals the scope of the challenge for those who still seek to move toward converge rather than to continue on what seems to be the current path of detachment and challenge.

 In either case, what Jiang has to say ought to be taken seriously and considered carefully.  The text of the essay (which includes a long introduction designed to underline the points that are meant to be emphasized and principally extracted from a reading of the article) along with a crude English translation follows.  I also include a few brief reflections on the text (with a passing reference to the introduction).

 Brief reflections:

1. Jiang uses the lens of the state as the centering element of analysis.  That sets the perspective for the opening paragraphs.  But it also limits the possibilities of analysis.  If one starts with the presumption of the state at the center--and of empire as an expression of the projection outward of state power.  Then the only thing that remains is to determine (1) historical successions of state empires, that is connecting empire  in history and (2) taxonomies of empire, that is the way empire manifests. That is the essence of the analysis here.  First the assumption that the U.S. is a successor empire of the U.K., and second that the manifestation of American empire required different expression--that is by becoming "invisible" and thus improving on the U.K. model.  With the state at the center--and with the core of leadership at its apex, it then naturally follows that everything created in the wake of the great U.S.,-Allied victory in 1945 would both reflect and manifest American imperium. It must--for that is the logic of empire, with the state at its core. It then also follows that the U.N.system itself is both a reflection of and the "invisible" incarnation of that hegemony, of that imperium, the legitimacy of which was won by victory of fascism. 

2. But consider re-centering the analysis away from the state and to markets as the driving element of post 1945 empire.  The logic of markets and states are not the same. Putting markets at the center does not change the importance of the American construct but does change its focus.  If state are stewards or expressions of markets then the construction of ports-national imperium must center on the development of chains of production, rather than chains of national power. Globalization and the constitution of the UN system, then, might be understood as the construction of an imperium of production rather than of states. It would follow that the construction of that system would tend to subordinate states to the logics and development of production. Whether that production is undertaken under the guidance of its state stewards directly (ownership) or indirectly (regulation) made little difference.  The premise of imperium was economic production and with it the ordering of normative systems that then aligned with what in its Chinese Marxist Leninist version would be understood as "Reform and Opening Up's" development of productive forces line.     

3. Ironically, this is precisely what was understood, if only unconsciously by the Trump Administration, when in rejecting the imperium of production, it sough tin the American First project, to return to what China had already gotten a jump start on--the constitution of state centered post-global empire. The issue then became what were the characteristics of post global empire.  No longer territory, it centered on production but now subordinated it to states sitting at the hubs of production.  That required inverting the post 1945 system that had subordinated states to production and ordered production globally.  Here, as well, one can characterize the leadership of Xi Jinping as experiencing the world in the same way and seeking to develop its own version of post-global imperium from a Chinese Hub through its Silk Roads. The object was the same--an imperium of production, buttressed by the values that enhance production aligned with the political-economic model of the hub state.  

4. From a markets centered perspective, then, the global order has moved beyond the old territorial basis for imperium.  It has also moved beyond the ordering of power by the once easy to manage characteristics of race, ethnicity, religion, and the like.  The contemporary technologies of power make those old categories effectively not merely obsolete but an impediment to the development and refinement of production. It is that movement--to dismantle ancient mechanisms of empire, and tpo replace them with the technologies of markets and the efficiencies of production under a normative standard that enhanced the willingness of individuals to participate (and thus to produce wealth) that could then be understood as the genesis of post 1945 focus on human rights and human dignity. It also might be viewed as the foundation of Leninist collective rights systems as well. In this sense the markets centering lens permits a view of the state as an overseer of both production and the normative systems necessary to maximize individual engagement with the system. 

5. What is then encountered as invisible is both highly visible but detached from the bases of traditional analysis.  More than that, it provides a basis for understanding the subordinate role of normative ideology to the core premises of markets driven economic production.  From the Marxist Leninist perspective that drives a collective society (organized through states) to encounter the contradictions of production and to overcome them.  That, it might be posited, was addressed first by Reform and Opening Up (increasing production) and then by confronting the challenges of unequal distribution of production(the principal contradiction of New Era theory. And yet that is what occurs in the U.S. filtered through the premises of its own political-economic model.

6. This de-centering, then provides a different perspective for analysis of the contest for discursive control of the modalities, norms, and performance of production between the U.S. (liberal democratic) camp and that of Soviet Marxist Leninism. In that sense, again, the UN system could be understood not necessarily as the invisible expression of American state hegemony now nicely dressed up in internationalist form. Rather the UN became a site over battles for the normative heart of markets and the0 narratives of economic production (supported by a complex system of normative "rights" of and for individuals and collectives).  That, certainly is underscored by the generation long battle over the normative architecture of production that produced the great split in human rights between civil and political rights on the one hand and economic, social, and cultural rights on the other.

 7. The discussion of the GATT system provides a case in point.  It can on the one hand be seen as a space for the better integration of developing states within the overarching system of markets driven global production, and on the other expose the normative gaps between what Jiang describes as the divide between free trade and fair trade. For markets based ideology, free trade is by definition fair--as long as the integrity of the markets are themselves preserved and augmented. For state centered analysis the two are quite different--free trade suggesting the exploitation of economic actors by a system that fared the well endowed; fair trade on the other hand necessarily served as shorthand the the need for state intervention to use markets to achieve. And yet all states seek top intervene.  In markets centered frameworks, that intervention corrects; in state centered frameworks that intervention directs.

8. Jiang is correct in describing the discourse of free and fair trade as useful tools.  He would have them situated historically as quintessentially tools of American empire.  They might, instead, be understood as the core of the toolkit of empire which can be used to further the hegemony of markets (where these are deployed, for example in the international sphere). It can as well be used to advance the European projections of the"Brussels Effect", or of the Belt & Road Initiative or America First. Free and fair trade, in this sense are empty vessels--given meaning by the context and actor by and through which it is constructed and deployed. Here one encounters normative contests colored by the lens through which their meaning is sought. 

9. And that introduces Jiang's "Chinese Way." China seeks top be "in the world" and yet at the same time autonomous of it--a 'One World'-and 'Multiple Autonomies' theory that mirrors China's 'One Country-Two Systems' principles through which it manages the autonomy of its heartland peripheries. He writes:

It is against this background that we see that China's economic development strategy after the reform and opening up has always included two processes: on the one hand, integrating into the world system as soon as possible, fully absorbing external knowledge, funds, systems and laws to develop and strengthen itself, Speed ​​up the establishment of a market economic system that is in line with the world; on the other hand, always take advantage of political autonomy to formulate independent development strategies.

And,indeed, that is the heart of the analysis.  And the essence of the contestation.  The issue revolves around both the construction of autonomy within converging systems (in this case of production; but perhaps of "hub" states at the center of spoke systems of production), but also of the allocation of the authority to determine and protect autonomy from it. A state centered model would follow the Chinese path and center analysis of the arrangement of states in power hierarchies.  From it imperium is the outward projection of internal power (economic, societal, cultural, economic). That suggests the sort of fragility and contestation of forms of traditional empire contested among states. Yet a markets centered  approach would see in this fidelity to its imperium with normative contests over its normative expressions and the performance of production. In both cases the final result in similar--to advance stability and prosperity aligned with local conditions. And yet their expression is very different.
10. Kiang's application of a historical lens adds power and useful insight to the analysis. Two implications are worth highlighting.  The first is tied to Jiang's engagement with the alignment of the progress of globalization to a view of the inevitable movement of history through stages toward the inevitable 'communization' of the global community.  That is fair given the fundamental underlying premise of the Chinese political economic model. More importantly, it,helps to understand the lens through which development can be understood--the purpose of the progress of the development of collective productive forces is not inherent in itself but is inevitably directed toward a specifically imagined goal. The second, though, is more important--the rationalization of the failure of European Soviet Communism in the face of the American post 1945 global construct and its lessons for Chinese Marxist Leninism. One of the lessons was well learned in the embrace of Reform and Opening Up--at least some concession to the driving power of markets as the global rationalizing force (though in Jiang's analysis like riding a tiger that one eventually wants to get off). The other was of the need to be suspicious of the normative packages offered by liberal democratic states as the only basis for ensuring the triumph of global market ideology--that it the intimate connection between productivity (and the development of productive forces), labor contentment, and social peace Including civil and political engagement). Yet it is possible to see that contestation as a function of detachment (where one applies a state lens) or of contests over unifying normative discourse of the driving force through which human collective activity is rationalized (the market and production). Within Jiang's construct empire is inevitable--the empire of markets; yet that imperium is as available to the Chinese center as it is to the American.
11.  Within this exercise in empire, however, one large sector remains passive--developing states and marginalized peoples.  Under either lens, one ought to worry about the way that theory relegates this  sector to a passive and receptive role.  It is a role that seeks compensation, or space for development, or something else,but which must conform to the realities of markets driven internationalism or hub driven state based post-global empire. And yet that seems to be the reality of post global imperium. The question then revolves around orienting lens and the consequences for the normative basket that is then available for operating systems.This has been constructed in multiple variations all over the world by philosophers, theorists and others seeking to rationalize the world in ways that appear to them to increase value.  And there is the rub.  One has first to determine the system of valuation, identify its markers and only then may it be applied.  Markets driven systems seek to maximize the value of its factors of production.  That informs the universe of normative expressions that have taken the form of rights discourse in contemporary times. But then it gets interesting: defining and measuring value can be self-reflexive in local context but it may depend as well on the basis of value--meaning making may be framed by markets but not inevitably defined by it. The state driven lens is subject to the same impulse but its meaning making communities and the taboos around which they develop the productive forces of their societal factors of production will be expressed quite differently.  That is the central lesson that Jiang provides and one worth pondering at greater length.




 中国能有今天, 就是因为没像苏联东欧那样自甘投降”: 








本文原载《文化纵横》2021年第6期90-103页,原题为《贸易与人权(下)—— 世界帝国背景下的中美竞争》,仅代表作者观点,供诸君思考。

强世功|贸易与人权 (下) ——世界帝国背景下的中美竞争

▍ 关贸总协定:两种人权理念之间的妥协



“二战”后,资本主义世界掌握“贸易”(第一代人权)的话语权,社会主义阵营掌握“人权”(第二代人权)的话语权。美国原本希望按照第一代人权理念设计推动自由贸易的世界贸易组织,并签署了著名的《哈瓦那宪章》。然而,秉持第二代人权理念的新独立国家很难认同这种摧毁国家主权的做法,更何况在经历大萧条和两次世界大战后,人们对自由放任的经济政策导致的灾难有切肤之痛。即使在美国,由于新政自由主义的影响,人们也意识到自由经济必须与充分就业和政府调控联系起来,资本主义的“经济安全”必须与新政自由主义强调的“社会安全”和“道义安全”联系起来,甚至希望用新政自由主义的理念塑造战后秩序。[2]在这种背景下,两种人权理念之间相互妥协,形成了美国主导下的关税与贸易总协定(GATT)这样的多边谈判机制,不同经济制度、不同发展阶段、不同意识形态的国家都纳入关税和贸易问题的谈判中。这种妥协将第一代人权理论强调的市场自由与第二代人权理论强调的政府调控有机地结合起来,被称为体现了一种“嵌入式自由主义”(the embodied liberalism)。[3]








▍ 世界帝国的两副面孔:“自由贸易”与“公平贸易”











▍ 新自由主义的世界帝国:贸易与知识产权









可见,冷战的结束和“华盛顿共识”支撑的新自由主义,将经济、政治和文化领域的自由化前所未有地结合在一起,为美国建构的世界帝国提供了新的前景。美国终于可以踢开布雷顿森林体系包含的对国家主权和政府自主性的尊重,抛开第二代人权理论保护的国家主权,完全按照新自由主义的原则和逻辑塑造更彻底的世界帝国。正是在后冷战时代美国加速推动世界帝国建设的历史进程中,国际货币基金组织和世界银行的职能发生了根本性变化,从稳定全球金融的机构变成美国管理世界帝国的超主权机构。与此同时,曾经作为主权国家多边协商谈判机制的GATT也被抛入历史,代之以全新的管理机构——世界贸易组织(WTO)。与GATT相比,世贸组织的最大区别在于拥有强有力的争端解决机制,因此成为凌驾于主权国家之上的世界帝国的法律执行机构,成为“世界法治”的象征。由此,世贸组织与国际货币基金组织和世界银行一道,被讥讽为美国展开世界帝国建构的“邪恶的三位一体”(Unholy Trinity)。正是在这种新自由主义的世界帝国筹划中,“人权高于主权”乃至“人道主义干涉”成为美国摧毁其他国家的主权,并将它们纳入其世界帝国版图的利器。美国以“人权保护”名义发起“第三波民主化”,以“反恐战争”名义提出改造中东的“大中东民主计划”;为了在其他国家和地区推行民主化改造,美国甚至发动“颜色革命”这种新型战争形态,将其世界帝国变成所谓的“民主帝国”或“人权帝国”。[11]

▍ “中国道路”:人类命运共同体与人权理论的重构









简单总结上篇及本篇前文的论述,可以看出自从欧洲发展出现代人权理论之后,现代人围绕人权概念形成了五种“理想类型”(ideal type)。一是历史上亚当·斯密式的英国模式,按照第一代人权理论形成自由放任模式,对内是商人阶层主导的议会制,对外是自由贸易的世界帝国体系。二是与此相对立的苏联时代将卢梭的“公意”理论发展到极致的斯大林模式,按照第二代人权理论形成全面计划控制模式,对内采取工人阶级专政,对外构建社会主义盟友互惠的“帝国体系”。三是在两种类型之间、让两种人权理论保持平衡的欧盟模式,对内采取民主社会主义的经济社会政策,对外采取平等的联盟体系。四是美国模式,两种人权理念处于不断斗争、相互推动、交替主导的状态,最终在“二战”后逐渐形成以第一代人权理论为“体”、第二代人权理论为“用”的世界帝国模式。[14]





[1] [13] [14] 参见强世功:《贸易与人权(上)——世界帝国与“美国行为的根源”》,载《文化纵横》2021年第5期。

[2] 参见约翰·伊肯伯里:《自由主义的利维坦》,赵明昊译,上海人民出版社2013年版。

[3] 参见安德鲁·朗:《世界贸易法律和新自由主义:重塑全球经济秩序》,樊健、王缙凌译,法律出版社2016年版。

[4] 相关讨论参见杰奥瓦尼·阿瑞基:《漫长的20世纪》,姚乃强、严维明、韩振荣译,江苏人民出版社2011年版。

[5] 大卫·哈维:《新帝国主义》,初立忠、沈晓雷译,社会科学文献出版社2009年版,第46~47页。

[6] 卢克·马特尔:《社会学视角下的全球化》,宋妍译,辽宁人民出版社2014年版,第235页。

[7] 参见理查德·罗蒂:《筑就我们的国家》,黄宗英译,生活·读书·新知三联书店2014年版。

[8] 参见麦克尔·哈特、安东尼奥·奈格里:《帝国》,杨建国、范一亭译,江苏人民出版社2008年版;Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri,Multitude,Penguin Books,2005;迈克尔·哈特、安东尼奥·奈格里:《大同世界》,王行坤译,中国人民大学出版社2016年版。

[9] 2017年特朗普就任美国总统后,30余年前担任美国贸易代表,对日本发起“一般301调查”并迫使日本签署《广场协议》的莱特希泽(Robert Lighthizer),再次被任命为贸易代表,并对中国发起“301调查”。然而,莱特希泽这次面对的中国,不是美国的附庸国,而是真正独立的主权国家。

[10] 关于TRIPS谈判以及由此引发的知识产权问题的详细论述,参见彼得·达沃豪斯、约翰·布雷思韦特:《信息封建主义》,刘雪涛译,知识产权出版社2005年版。

[11] 强世功:《文明终结与世界帝国:美国建构的全球法秩序》,三联书店(香港)2021年版,第二章。

[12] 强世功:《中美“关键十年”——“新罗马帝国”与“新的伟大斗争”》,载《东方学刊》总第9期。

[15] 参见强世功:《“天下一家”vs. 世界帝国:“深度全球化”与全球治理难题》,载《东方学刊》2021年第4期(即出)。

本文原载《文化纵横》2021年第6期90-103页,原题为《贸易与人权(下)—— 世界帝国背景下的中美竞争》。 文章仅代表 作者本人观点,欢迎分享,媒体转载请联系版权方。


 China has what it is today because it did not surrender like the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe did”: Reflections of a Peking University Professor
Cultural aspect
The official account of "Cultural Landscape" magazine


 Jiang Shigong|Peking University Law School

[Introduction] On January 1, 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest free trade zone, came into effect. It is expected to cancel over 90% of the trade tariffs of 15 member countries, and will strengthen China, Japan and South Korea. Economic and trade relations between the three countries. In this regard, there is public opinion in the United States that this will undoubtedly affect the United States' Asia-Pacific layout and endanger the United States' economic and trade "control" in the Pacific.

Focusing on a grand historical perspective and theoretical analysis, this article points out the issues of trade and human rights that are currently prevalent in global discourse, reflecting two very different concepts of international order between China and the United States. In the first part of this article, the author analyzes how the United States after World War II shaped the covert world empire system based on the first generation of "liberal" human rights theories and the second generation of "equal" human rights theories. . The second part of this article starts from the trade strategy of the United States, and further interprets how the United States constructs the world economic and trade system through the alternate use of human rights discourse.

As a product of the compromise between two human rights concepts, the United States led the formation of a multilateral negotiation mechanism such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which included countries with different economic systems, development stages, and ideologies in the negotiations on tariff and trade issues. . This mechanism, to a certain extent, responds to the criticisms of the late-developing countries on the inequality of the "free trade" system since the British Empire, and the resulting demands for "fair trade". It is relatively milder, but its In essence, it reflects a change in the logic of capitalist profit extraction: unlike the British Empire, the "corporate capitalism" in the United States integrates global business networks through multinational companies, forming stronger economic and technological monopolies. In this context, the "fair trade" claims of late-developing countries have instead become trade protectionist measures taken by the United States to combat competitors under the GATT framework. "Fair trade" has become synonymous with the United States asking other countries to open their markets and adopt "free trade". The United States can switch between "free trade" or "fair trade" at will in different situations as its justification. "Free trade" and "fair trade" have become two opposing and cooperative forces in the construction of a world empire by the United States. The reason why the United States can switch freely among them lies in the fact that it has "absolute sovereignty" that transcends international law and can use it to Domestic law overrides international law.

It is from the perspective of the world imperial system that we can understand the choice and fate of the two paths in China's struggle for national independence and liberation since the Revolution of 1911. The author believes that the key here is not whether China wants to join the world system, but what kind of identity and status to join this system. Different from the failed transition of the Soviet Union and the East, China’s transition succeeded precisely because it did not completely abandon the second-generation human rights theory in a gesture of surrender, but instead formed the first-generation human rights theory with the second-generation human rights theory as its “body”. The new mode for "use". The first four are the British model of Adam Smith, the Stalin model developed from Rousseau's "general will" to the extreme, the European Union model that maintains a balance between two human rights theories, and the American model of freedom for the body and equality for the purpose. The model is different. China's rise is precisely based on the second generation of human rights theory, through international community consultation and dialogue and regional integration, to solve the governance problems brought about by the decline of the world empire, promote the next wave of globalization, and jointly build "One World, One Family" , to share the "Great Harmony of the World".

This article was originally published on pages 90-103 of the 6th issue of "Cultural Landscape" in 2021. The original title is "Trade and Human Rights (Part 2) - Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire", which only represents the author's point of view, for you to think about.

Qiang Shigong|Trade and Human Rights (Part 2): Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire

▍ GATT: A compromise between two human rights ideals

Through "national self-determination" and "open door", the United States has formed an internal mechanism of combining physical and practical human rights between the first generation of human rights and the second generation of human rights, using the opportunity of the two world wars to promote the United States to inherit the mantle of world empire of the British Empire, And advance it to a new stage of "invisible empire". The United Nations system in the political field and the Bretton Woods system in the economic field formed after the Second World War are the products of these two human rights theories. [1] In the design of the Bretton Woods system, the primary goal of the United States was to destroy the global trade division created by the British Empire's imperial preferential, and to take advantage of the favorable opportunity of the United States to dominate the global economy after the war, requiring that Europe and Asia must take trade and investment A liberal "Open Door" policy so that the United States can gain access to the resources and markets of the entire world, rebuild a world empire of free trade, and achieve what Paul Kennedy called "peace under America." In fact, while the British Empire was shifting from free trade to imperial preferences, the United States was shifting from mercantilism to free trade policy since Roosevelt's New Deal, and this policy change just reflected the change in imperial power.

The British Empire naturally grew into a world empire in a state of "absence of mind", while the United States has systematically studied the success and failure lessons of the British Empire since its founding, and built a world empire through careful planning and design. Therefore, different from the spontaneous formation of the British Empire, which promoted free trade centered on industry and finance, and thus formed an economic system that freely adjusts the balance of payments, the United States had a complete set of systematic plans for building a world empire after World War II. The key to this is how to learn from the lessons that countries adopted mercantilist policies that led the Western world to fall into the "Great Depression" and rebuild a free trade world trading system.

After "World War II", the capitalist world has the right to speak of "trade" (the first generation of human rights), and the socialist camp has the right to speak of "human rights" (the second generation of human rights). The United States originally hoped to design the World Trade Organization to promote free trade in accordance with the first generation of human rights concepts, and signed the famous "Havana Charter". However, it is difficult for newly independent countries that uphold the concept of the second generation of human rights to agree with such a practice of destroying national sovereignty, not to mention the fact that after the Great Depression and two world wars, people are deeply hurt by the disaster caused by laissez-faire economic policies. Even in the United States, due to the influence of New Deal liberalism, people realized that a free economy must be linked to full employment and government regulation, and that the "economic security" of capitalism must be related to the "social security" and "moral security" emphasized by New Deal liberalism. link, and even hope to shape the postwar order with the ideas of New Deal liberalism. [2] In this context, the two human rights concepts compromised each other, forming a multilateral negotiation mechanism such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) under the leadership of the United States. Countries are included in negotiations on tariff and trade issues. This compromise organically combines market freedom emphasized by the first generation of human rights theories with government regulation emphasized by the second generation of human rights theories, and is called "the embodied liberalism". [3]

The GATT system was designed to give developing countries moderate space for tariff protection, which was more reasonable than the free-trade world economy of the British Empire. The free trade promoted by the British Empire was set against a backdrop of stark colonialism, with colonies or semi-colonies woven entirely on the fringes of the world system. When the United States proposed free trade, it was an era of anti-imperialist and anti-colonialism driven by the communist movement, and an era of national liberation when the colonies became independent. In this era of sovereign countries pursuing independence and equality, the free trade proposed by the United States must give these countries the right to regulate their sovereignty. Although the United States strives to limit the discussion of the GATT to the technical category of "trade", it hopes to avoid the influence of the second generation of human rights (the right to economic and social development) promoted by the socialist movement, and to isolate "trade" from "human rights" open, but the relationship between the two always exists objectively. This means that the historical environment in which the British Empire built a world empire through free trade is gone forever.

Compared with the completely open free trade system dominated by the British Empire, the Bretton Woods system both provided space for sovereign states to solve employment and social problems, while preventing these countries from adopting mercantilist policies that endanger the global economic order, thus avoiding the British Empire. Radical free trade led to a backlash against protectionism. It can be said that this is a milder and more rational economic globalization order than the free trade of the British Empire. However, we must realize that the transition of the world economic system from the era of the British Empire to the era of the American Empire actually embodies an important change in the logic of capitalist profit extraction. The main way of capital accumulation in the British Empire is to gain commercial trade advantages through manufacturing advantages, and then obtain financial advantages. In comparison, the way of capital accumulation in the United States after World War II not only relied on the financial hegemony of gold-dollar and later oil-dollar, but more importantly, it once accumulated the advantages of "corporate capitalism" under the pressure of British hegemony - the United States of multinational corporations effectively internalize transaction costs in international trade by integrating global business networks to cope with the impact of global trade liberalization. The most typical example of new corporate governance is the rise of Fordism and Taylorism. The improvement of the company's management efficiency effectively accelerates the company's expansion, and finally forms the new economic monopoly and technology monopoly of multinational companies. [4]

Free trade in the British Empire, as conceived by the Manchester School, was a global commercial network of countless small shopkeepers; free trade in the United States was controlled by a few large multinational oligarchs. The comparison of the two models of profit extraction in the British Empire and the American Empire is perfectly reflected in the debate among Chicago School economists that which of the two models, the market or the firm, is more efficient ultimately depends on which one is more beneficial lower the transaction cost. MNCs internalize market costs in free trade, which is more conducive to reducing transaction costs. These multinational corporations have a monopoly position in the global economy, they have privileges and authority in many sovereign countries (especially third world countries), and can even control the politics and economy of these countries. In this sense, the desire for free trade in the United States is far less strong than that of the British Empire in its heyday, because the trade protection policies of any sovereign country are also beneficial to the multinational companies established by the United States in the country, and the multinational companies earn money in these countries. Profits will eventually flow back to the US in the form of dollars. As the Chinese complained during the Sino-US trade war, many of the products China exports to the US are manufactured in China by US multinational companies, and the Chinese earn only a small portion of the labor and processing profits.

After eight years of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed on November 15.

▍ Two faces of world empire: "free trade" and "fair trade"

Although due to the external pressure from the socialist camp and the resistance of developing countries in the GATT negotiation, the ideal of free trade expected by the United States cannot be realized immediately, but the United States has made full use of its economic advantages to continuously promote trade liberalization in the GATT negotiation. To this end, the United States launched "development economics" and "modernization theory" based on this. These theories claim that foreign trade is the "engine" of economic development, emphasizing that only by vigorously developing foreign trade can backward countries stimulate economic growth; because foreign trade can not only accelerate capital accumulation by expanding exports, but also improve industrial structure and achieve coordinated economic development through imports At the same time, it is conducive to the introduction of advanced technologies, production methods, economic systems and cultural concepts. These theories have attracted developing countries to join GATT and agree to lower tariffs and promote free trade as much as possible. [5]

Nevertheless, in this "club"-style negotiating arena, the second-generation human rights theory will inevitably become an ideological weapon for developing countries to fight against developed countries. Whether it is Wallerstein's theory of the world economic system or Amin's theory of dependence and underdevelopment, these left-wing ideological trends, like Marxist theory, have become the third world's criticism of the Western-dominated global economic system in various international occasions, and strive for its own An ideological weapon for development rights. Developed countries believe that developing countries are underdeveloped because their economic and political systems are immature, while developing countries attribute it to an unreasonable global economic order dominated by the West, and even criticize this post-war economic order as "neocolonialism" . The second generation of human rights discourse combined with the global left-wing movement has promoted the "global justice movement" in the field of trade, and "fair trade" has become the demand of developing countries. The reason why developing countries strive for "fair trade" and use "fair trade" to criticize the world imperial order constructed by Western developed countries is that after they joined this order, they did not experience the economic prosperity promised by developed countries, but became more and more trapped. Deprived of status,[6] the economic gap between the developed (North) and developing (South) countries constructed by the Bretton Woods system is getting deeper and deeper.

Since the United States wants to incorporate the vast number of developing countries into its economic system through the economic "club" of GATT and isolate the socialist camp by means of the Cold War, it has to endure the criticism and resistance of developing countries to certain propositions put forward by the United States in trade negotiations. pressure, and more importantly, the challenges posed by the economic revival of the European Union and Japan, driven to win the Cold War. To address these challenges, the U.S. Trade Expansion Act of 1962 gives the president the power to take retaliatory measures on the grounds of "unreasonable" or "unfair" trade. In 1974, the United States further revised the trade law, and put forward the concepts of "fair and harmful" trade and "unfair trade", and called goods that conform to the principles of fair trade but do not meet the standards of U.S. interests as "harmful". This marks a major adjustment in U.S. trade policy: the discourse strategy of trade legitimacy has shifted from emphasizing "free trade" to "fair trade"; Outside the framework, taking advantage of the U.S. economic hegemony and constantly revising domestic trade laws, the government has given the government stronger and stronger trade retaliation and sanctions, forcing other countries to accept various so-called "fair trade" demands put forward by the United States. As a result, the organic interaction between US domestic trade law and GATT and other international laws, and between unilateralism and multilateralism has gradually formed.

"Fair trade" was originally a developing country's criticism of the inequalities caused by "free trade" based on the second-generation human rights theory, but now it has become the United States' intervention in government trade (including subsidies, state-owned enterprises, Labor rights, ecological environment damage, etc.) criticism. On the issue of "fair trade", there are two different understandings, and this difference is closely related to the so-called "substantive justice" and "procedural justice". If "free trade" has a visible objective measure of lowering tariff barriers, then "fair trade" lacks a universally accepted standard, because the strong and the weak have different understandings of fairness. When the strong and the weak compete, the strong emphasizes that the competition should start from a common starting line, that is, "fair competition" based entirely on market freedom. Therefore, any government assistance to trade is "unfair trade". "Fairness" is actually the embodiment of the concept of procedural justice in the field of international trade. For the weak, however, this laissez-faire trade is a looting of developing countries , will lead to developing countries forever on the edge of the world system, resulting in underdevelopment due to dependence; therefore, true "fair trade" must recognize the "right to development" of developing countries to use government power to promote economic development, so as to realize national Equality between countries, such "fair trade" undoubtedly runs through the concept of substantive justice.

Behind the political game and discourse debate about "fair trade" between the strong and the weak is essentially a disagreement between two generations of human rights theories. In this long debate over "human rights," especially around market trade and national development, liberty and equality, the United States is not always the winner. In the 1960s and 1970s, influenced by the "May Storm" in Europe and the "Cultural Revolution" in China, American campuses launched a huge "Cultural Revolution", a second-generation human rights theory with equality as the core value promoted by socialism. gained global dominance. Compared with the class equality, gender equality, ethnic equality, and international equality shown by socialist countries, the United States is mired in the abyss of widening economic inequality, racial segregation, exclusion of women, and the Vietnam War with foreign countries. Faced with this pressure, in order to compete for the global discourse on human rights issues, the United States, starting from the breaking of racial segregation, promoted the "civil rights movement" involving gender equality, gender liberation, and the protection of the rights of the accused. Since then, the "class left" influenced by Marxism has turned to the "cultural left" under the influence of postmodern thought, and the American Democratic Party has also undergone a fundamental turn. [7]

It can be seen that different countries are talking about "fair trade", but they all give it different connotations according to their own interests. Developing countries often use "fair trade" to strengthen the protection of their internal economic development, and oppose the free trade policies that developed countries try to promote, especially in the face of the impact of global trade liberalization promoted by the "Washington Consensus", "fair trade" It has always been a theoretical tool for the global left to critique this trend. The United States' emphasis on "fair trade" is precisely to crack down on such trade protectionist measures taken by competitors in order to promote free trade. In this sense, "fair trade" is actually a synonym for the United States to ask other countries to open their markets and adopt "free trade". It is a kind of freedom that the United States is forced to choose under the historical background of the second-generation human rights discourse dominated the world. New discourses in the defense of trade policy.

"Free trade" and "fair trade" are just two different faces of the United States in different situations in the historical process of promoting world empire, and both are useful tools in the U.S. trade policy toolbox. The United States can define what "fair trade" is based on its own interests at any time, and choose to use "free trade" or "fair trade" as its justification for different objects and situations. For example, the United States adopted a laissez-faire policy during the Reagan period and once restored the idea of ​​"free trade". However, in his second term, the huge foreign trade deficit made Reagan quickly turn to "fair trade". It was Reagan who formally proposed the concept of "free and fair trade" in his "Trade Policy Action Plan" in 1985, and formed a trade counter-attack group, which laid the foundation for the discourse strategy and legal logic of the United States to deal with trade issues later. In the post-Cold War era, the United States used unipolar hegemony to accelerate the pace of world empire building: on the one hand, it used neoliberal doctrine to expand its economic power; on the other hand, in order to ensure the ability of the United States to control the global economy, the Clinton administration even "Economic security" is the primary goal of U.S. foreign policy, and it has publicly declared "fair trade" as part of a national economic strategy to expand trade. In a word, "free trade" and "fair trade" are two parallel tracks for the US to build a world empire, both aimed at combating competitors and ensuring US control over the world economy: on the one hand, "free trade" is used to attract and control development China, on the other hand, uses "fair trade" to meet the challenges of the EU, developed countries in East Asia and even emerging economies such as the "BRICS".

What is more noteworthy is that in the context of the construction of world empires, there is a trend of confluence between the globalization right wing that advocates "free trade" and the globalization left wing that advocates "fair trade". The right wing of globalization uses the proposition of "free trade" to require other countries to remove various non-tariff barriers (such as subsidies, dumping, etc.) in order to achieve the goal of global trade liberalization; the left wing of globalization requires that global trade must strengthen labor, environmental protection etc. to protect human rights. However, the labor protection and environmental protection emphasized by the left wing of globalization will undoubtedly greatly increase the cost of export products of developing countries, which will eventually weaken the competitiveness of industrial products of developing countries in global trade. In March 2021, the West attempted to ban China's Xinjiang cotton from entering global trade through human rights discourses such as "forced labor" and "genocide" to achieve the goal of winning the trade war through "human rights" issues. The globalization left, like the globalization right, is objectively weakening the power of sovereign states, but the globalization right builds a world empire, while the western left in the context of globalization accepts this "world empire". Attempts to transform the "Empire" into a "Great Harmony World" through the resistance of the "people". [8] In this sense, the right wing and the left wing of the United States can often form beneficial cooperation in the debate on "free trade" and "fair trade". Just like the two faces of the Trump administration and the Biden administration, the former mainly focuses on Trade, the latter highlighting human rights, has become two antagonistic and synergistic forces in America's construction of world empire. The reason why the United States can switch freely between "free trade" and "fair trade" lies in the fact that the world empire it has constructed enables it to have "absolute sovereignty" that transcends international law, and can put the domestic law of the United States above international law.

▍ The Neoliberal World Empire: Trade and Intellectual Property

Since the issue of "unfair trade" was raised in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, with the increasing trade frictions, the United States has continuously revised its trade laws to strengthen the US president's ability to act unilaterally outside the GATT, forming the so-called "unfair trade". General Section 301", that is, the U.S. Trade Representative may, under the authority of the President, take unilateral punitive and retaliatory measures against any other country's violation of "fair trade" that harms U.S. interests. It is based on the "General Section 301" that the United States repeatedly launched trade wars against Japan in the 1970s and 1980s to combat Japanese manufacturing challenges to the United States. In 1985, the United States forced the yen to appreciate against the dollar through the famous "Plaza Agreement", which solved the trade friction between the United States and Japan from the fundamental level of finance. Since then, the Japanese economy has entered a long-term recession. At the same time, the United States also launched a "Super 301 investigation" against Japan. In 1989, the two countries signed the "U.S.-Japan Structural Trade Barrier Agreement", which not only required Japan to open its domestic market, but also forced Japan to revise its domestic economic policy. For Japan, a sovereign country, these two agreements are undoubtedly "unequal treaties" that "suffer their rights and humiliate the country". The unilateral punitive retaliation by the United States has worked not only because Japan’s export-oriented economy has long been embedded in the world economic system dominated by the United States, but more importantly, Japan has been integrated into the world imperial order of the United States as a “vassal state”. [9]

Faced with the challenges of emerging countries in the manufacturing and trade fields, the United States has continuously strengthened its unilateral action capability of various "301 investigations" on the grounds of "fair trade", while on the other hand, it has tried to consolidate its dominant position in the GATT negotiation. , forming a dual-track interactive framework for promoting international law with domestic law. In this regard, linking intellectual property issues with trade issues and using "fair trade" discourse to incorporate intellectual property rights into GATT negotiations is undoubtedly a new strategy for the United States to strengthen the world imperial system since the 1980s.

Since its independence, the United States has realized that the secret to European imperial hegemony lies in the rise of technology-driven manufacturing. For this reason, the founders of the United States actually included intellectual property protection clauses in the constitution, which seems to be the only one in the constitutions of all countries in the world. The US government has been an "enterprise country" from the very beginning. With the help of trade protection policies, the US government has always vigorously promoted technological progress and industrial development, and finally ushered in the second industrial revolution. During the two world wars, European scientists took refuge in the United States, and the United States quickly reached the pinnacle of global technology. The famous "Science: The Endless Frontier" report before the end of World War II further laid the foundation for winning the Cold War with the power of science and technology. After encountering industrial challenges from the European Union and Japan in the 1970s, the United States realized that it must maintain its dominant position in the high-tech industry by strengthening technological innovation and intellectual property protection. In 1979, President Carter formally proposed a national development strategy for the protection of intellectual property rights and formulated a series of laws to protect intellectual property rights.

However, the vast majority of countries, especially developing countries, oppose the technological monopoly of developed countries. But without the recognition of the international community, it is impossible for developing countries to abide by the rules of intellectual property protection that mainly safeguard the interests of developed countries. To this end, the United States tried to bring the issue of intellectual property protection into the GATT negotiation, making it an international law recognized by all developing countries. In 1988, the U.S. comprehensively revised Section 301 of the Trade Act, which clearly defined violations of U.S. intellectual property rights as "unfair trade" and authorized the U.S. President to set up a special office to initiate investigations into countries that engage in such acts until the lawsuit is filed. trade sanctions. This is called a "special Section 301." Since then, the Office of the US Trade Representative has become the spokesperson for intellectual property protection of multinational companies, and has launched intellectual property investigations on countries around the world, especially emerging economies. Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Southeast Asia and China have all been investigated and harvested, and a series of Intensive IP negotiations.

In order to further publicize the legitimacy of intellectual property protection, the concept of "knowledge economy" has been widely publicized by the media. The wealth myth of Microsoft President Bill Gates has become a symbol of the knowledge economy, and intellectual property rights have thus become a "new human rights". The United States is trying to use the new intellectual property rules to bring the world's major economies into its imperial system of intellectual property. In the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, the United States used the "Special Section 301" as a backing for threatening sanctions, and in the final stage, intellectual property, an issue that had nothing to do with trade and was not originally in the negotiation plan, was included in the negotiation agenda, and finally in 1994 Sign the famous Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS Agreement violates GATT's principle of national autonomy, adopts a "one size fits all" approach, weakens the autonomy of countries to decide their own intellectual property protection legislation, and stipulates the minimum standards of intellectual property protection that all countries must accept.

At that time, many developing countries were not clear about the intellectual property strategies of US multinationals. When the United States lured developing countries to accept the TRIPS agreement with the opening of agricultural markets, many developing countries thought that although they suffered in the industrial field, they could at least benefit in the agricultural field. But what they don't know is that oligarchs in the fields of biology, pharmaceuticals, and genes in the United States have monopolized various patented technologies, so that planting and breeding in traditional agriculture are under the control of these multinational oligarchs. The global intellectual property protection promoted by the TRIPS Agreement means the dawn of a new era. After the era of industrial capitalism, in which industrial capitalists control labor and surplus value, and the era of financial capitalism, in which bankers control capital, securities, and bonds, capitalism enters the era of capitalism. The new stage, the era of "information capitalism" in which abstract intellectual property rights are controlled by information oligarchs like Apple, pharmaceutical oligarchs like Pfizer, and biological oligarchs like Monsanto has arrived. These multinational corporations that control knowledge and information "collect rents" from users, just as medieval feudal landlords who controlled land collected rents from tenant farmers. [10]

It is important to note that in the final stages of the TRIPS negotiations, the Cold War is over. The socialist camp that once supported developing countries disintegrated, and socialist theory and the second generation of human rights discourse also declined. In its place was a worldwide conservative revolution, the first generation of human rights theory under the background of classical liberalism began to fully revive, and in the new historical environment, neoliberalism, a revival of classical liberalism, was formed, with the background of left-wing. New Deal liberalism draws a line. Neoliberalism not only revived the first generation of human rights theories, but more importantly, transformed the second generation of human rights theories with the first generation of human rights theories, and used the concept of economic liberalization to promote political democratization and liberalization of cultural values, destroying The original core propositions of the second generation of human rights theories, such as people's sovereignty, national equality, and socialism.

It can be seen that the end of the Cold War and the neoliberalism supported by the "Washington Consensus" have combined unprecedented liberalization in the economic, political and cultural fields, providing new prospects for the world empire built by the United States. The United States can finally kick away the respect for national sovereignty and government autonomy contained in the Bretton Woods system, put aside the national sovereignty protected by the second-generation human rights theory, and shape a more thorough world empire entirely in accordance with the principles and logic of neoliberalism. It is in the historical process of the United States accelerating the construction of world empires in the post-Cold War era that the functions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have undergone fundamental changes, from institutions that stabilize global finance to super-sovereign institutions that the United States manages world empires. At the same time, the GATT, which once served as a multilateral negotiation and negotiation mechanism for sovereign countries, has also been thrown into history and replaced by a brand-new governing body, the World Trade Organization (WTO). Compared with GATT, the biggest difference of the WTO is that it has a strong dispute settlement mechanism, so it has become the law enforcement agency of the world empire above sovereign states, and has become a symbol of "world rule of law". As a result, the WTO, along with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, has been ridiculed as the "Unholy Trinity" for the United States to build a world empire. It is in this neoliberal world empire planning that "human rights over sovereignty" and even "humanitarian intervention" have become a powerful tool for the United States to destroy the sovereignty of other countries and incorporate them into its world empire. The United States launched the "third wave of democratization" in the name of "human rights protection", and proposed the "Greater Middle East Democracy Plan" to transform the Middle East in the name of "war on terror"; in order to promote democratization in other countries and regions, the United States even launched "color revolutions" "This new form of warfare has transformed its world empire into a so-called "democracy empire" or "human rights empire". [11]

▍ "The Chinese Way": The Reconstruction of the Human Rights Community and Human Rights Theory

In modern times, China was forced into the European-dominated world system and began to shift from an agricultural country to a modernized path of developing commerce and industry, so that from the very beginning, China was defined as a semi-colonial on the fringes of the world system. It means that modern China had to accept the fate of "dependence and underdevelopment". To change the marginal position and the fate of dependence, political independence must be achieved first. Only in this way can protectionist measures be adopted to promote industrialization, achieve national prosperity and strength, and move towards the center of the world system. Therefore, political independence, political autonomy, and global anti-hegemony have always been closely linked with changes in the world system.

How can newly independent countries promote their own industrialization? One is the market economy and capitalist road taken by Turkey and India, and the other is the socialist road taken by the Soviet Union and China. The former attempts to promote the industrialization of the country under the Western-dominated world system, adopting the mercantilist strategy implemented by the rise of Western powers.. However, the mercantilist development strategies of the Western powers are premised on war. If there is no preparation and capability for war, the mercantilist strategy cannot be successful. Moreover, despite their political independence, Turkey and India are still unable to escape their dependence on the West, and ultimately cannot escape their dependence on the Western-controlled world system. On the contrary, the socialist road has seen through the dependence and comprador of the country’s bourgeoisie to the world system from the very beginning, so it chose to rely on the working class and even the peasantry to obtain complete political independence, and even dared to use war with Europe and the United States that maintain the world system. The great powers confront each other and dare to bear the pressure and consequences of the Western powers cutting off their relationship with the world economic system economically. The two camps confronted at the political and military level during the Cold War were also two different economic systems, in which the Western capitalist system adopted a policy of blockade, restriction, isolation and encirclement of the socialist camp.

It is from the perspective of the world empire system that we can understand the choice and fate of China's two paths in the struggle for national independence and liberation since the 1911 Revolution. The key is not whether China wants to join the world system, but what kind of identity and status it will take. Join this system, and political identity and status depend on economic and military strength. In this sense, the new China after 1949 entered a critical moment in history when both crisis and opportunity coexisted. The "crisis" stemmed from the political and military suppression from the world imperial system. Only through tests like the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, the Sino-Indian border self-defense counterattack, and the Vietnam-Aid War to Resist the U.S. can mean that China has gained independence in the world system. political status; "opportunity" lies in the fact that national liberation and national rebirth have given China the confidence and ability to embark on the road of independent development and industrialization, completely getting rid of the dependent character and marginal status stipulated in the world system, and helping China move towards the world system. The center has laid a solid foundation. The socialist planning system adopted after the founding of the People's Republic of China was a road that did not rely on the capitalist world system, and quickly "leap forward" from a backward agricultural country to industrialization. The development path of "industrialism". At this time, China was still a backward agricultural country, unable to obtain sufficient and cheap raw materials through global commercial trade or colonization, but had to go beyond the stage of completing resource accumulation and knowledge accumulation through commerce, and directly develop modern industry, and from the very beginning, it was the development of national defense and heavy industry. , the difficulty can be imagined. This "heavy industry" development strategy has cost China a huge price, but it has also achieved great success. It has quickly changed China's long-term colonial and plundered status, and has become a global power in a "triangular game" with the Soviet Union and the United States.

However, this development strategy takes the second generation of human rights theories to the extreme and will inevitably inhibit the first generation of human rights theories. In the long term, this situation is not sustainable. In the context of the Cold War, the Western world exported the first generation of human rights concepts to socialist countries in order to dismantle the industrialization efforts of socialist countries. This means that socialist countries must recognize the achievements of the first generation of human rights theories and return to the world system promoted by globalization after they have achieved successful industrialization. In this process of return, the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries completely lost the independence of their political sovereignty due to their political failure. They accepted the "Washington Consensus" launched by the world empire, the industrial capacity was directly destroyed, and the entire country was rewoven into the on the fringes or semi-peripheries of the world imperial system. In the process of rejoining the world system after the reform and opening up, China has always maintained its political independence, thus maintaining its autonomy in the choice of economic development strategies.

It is against this background that we see that China's economic development strategy after the reform and opening up has always included two processes: on the one hand, integrating into the world system as soon as possible, fully absorbing external knowledge, funds, systems and laws to develop and strengthen itself, Speed ​​up the establishment of a market economic system that is in line with the world; on the other hand, always take advantage of political autonomy to formulate independent development strategies. For example, the Chinese government has always maintained financial governance to avoid being manipulated by Western financial capital after joining the world system; the Chinese government insists on formulating a step-by-step development strategy, especially in the field of trade, initially aiming at "earning foreign exchange through exports", and rebates through exports and a series of policies to promote the export of primary products, and use the foreign exchange earned to introduce high-tech; and with the development of the economy, in recent years, the Chinese government has made full use of the manufacturing advantages accumulated in the "heavy industry" stage, accelerated industrial upgrading, and promoted China's development in the industry. The continuous upward movement in the global technology industry chain is gradually posing a challenge to the advantages of the US technology industry and its dominant world imperial system. This is the root cause of today's China-US competition.

Compared with the failed transitions of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, the success of China's transition lies in the fact that it did not completely abandon the second-generation human rights theory in a gesture of surrender like they did. While re-accepting the first-generation human rights theories, China has always adhered to the ideals and beliefs of the second-generation human rights theories and perfectly combined the two. From this point of view, the core essence of "socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics" is the perfect combination of the first-generation human rights theories and the second-generation human rights theories. The reform and opening up just caught up with the United States’ comprehensive revival of the first-generation human rights theories against the backdrop of neoliberalism sweeping the world. The first-generation human rights theories and the strategy of “connecting with the world”, which advocated full integration into the world imperial system, have become China’s mainstream ideology. . However, with the rise of China and the strategic transformation in the "critical decade" between China and the United States,[12] China's mainstream ideology will inevitably turn to the full revival of the second generation of human rights and the socialism it promotes, and to rebuild on this basis Human Rights Theory.

As revealed in the previous part, both the US's own national construction and the US's foreign strategy of world empire are the combination and application of the two human rights theories. [13] Then, what is the difference between the internal assembly and specific application of the two human rights theories in the United States and China?

Briefly summarizing the discussion in the previous article and this article, we can see that since the development of modern human rights theory in Europe, modern people have formed five “ideal types” around the concept of human rights. One is the Adam Smith-style British model in history, which formed a laissez-faire model according to the first-generation human rights theory. Internally, it was a parliamentary system dominated by the merchant class, and externally, it was a world imperial system of free trade. The second is the Stalin model in which Rousseau's theory of "general will" was developed to the extreme in the Soviet era, and a comprehensive planned control model was formed in accordance with the second-generation human rights theory. "Empire System". The third is the EU model that maintains a balance between the two types of human rights theories, adopting a democratic socialist economic and social policy internally and an equal alliance system externally. The fourth is the American model. The two human rights concepts are in a state of constant struggle, mutual promotion, and alternate leadership. Eventually, after the "World War II", a system with the first generation of human rights theories as the "body" and the second generation of human rights theories as the "use" was gradually formed. World Empire mode. [14]

Since the founding of New China, in the process of two human rights theories intertwined and alternately dominated, a new model with the second-generation human rights theories as the "body" and the first-generation human rights theories as the "use" is gradually forming. At the domestic economic and social policy level, China will undoubtedly uphold the socialist concept promoted by the second-generation human rights theory, reconstruct and improve our economic, social, political and cultural systems in accordance with the "people-centered" human rights theory, and at the same time As an organic part of the socialist system, free property, market economy, and free trade give full play to the enthusiasm of the government and the market, equality and freedom, the second-generation human rights theory and the first-generation human rights theory. At the level of global order, based on the second-generation human rights theory, China respects the rights of different countries and civilizations to explore a path of modernization that suits their own reality, advocates giving full play to the positive role of the United Nations system, and promotes various equal alliance systems to play an active role in global governance It is necessary to carry out institutional construction around a community of shared future for mankind, so as to adapt to the inevitable development trend of "deep globalization".

It can be seen that the competition between China and the United States today is a competition based on different human rights theories and practices. Since modern times, the two human rights theories developed in the West have always been in a tense struggle, and Chinese practice is exploring a development path that allows the two human rights theories to form a perfect combination. This is not only due to the historical experience of China's great achievements in human rights. More importantly, it stems from the Chinese wisdom of seeking the "middle way". In the tradition of Chinese civilization, human rights are not the dominant concept. Human rights are ultimately subordinate to the order of heaven. Only in the order of heaven can the rights protected by each human rights theory find its place and define its own boundaries. In China, the two human rights theories can be used interchangeably under specific circumstances, changing with the circumstances, overcoming the either-or binary thinking inherent in Western fundamentalism, so that the market and the government, capital and the people can be perfectly combined, To jointly serve the construction of the Chinese order and a community with a shared future for mankind.

In this sense, the rise of China is bound to reconstruct the theory of human rights. In the struggle for international discourse power and the promotion of global governance, China should always take the initiative in human rights discourse and criticize the human rights disaster brought about by the world imperial order promoted by the United States. The unfettered capital forces under the world imperial system have brought about human rights issues such as class oppression and racial oppression in Western countries. More importantly, at the international level, this world imperial order anchors the Western and non-Western center-periphery structures that have developed over the past few hundred years, with the United States grabbing global wealth for its self-interest without assuming responsibility for global governance, resulting in The trend of "de-globalization" is now making waves around the world. Narrow nationalism, populism, and protectionism are resurgent in many countries, and conflicts in the international community are intensifying. The rise of China is precisely based on the second generation of human rights theory, through international community consultation, dialogue and regional integration, to solve the governance problems brought about by the decline of the world empire, to promote the next wave of globalization, to jointly build "One World, One Family" and share " The Great Harmony of the World". [15]


[1] [13] [14] See Jiang Shigong: "Trade and Human Rights (Part 1): World Empire and "The Roots of American Behavior", in "Cultural Landscape", No. 5, 2021.

[2] See John Ikenberry: The Liberal Leviathan, translated by Zhao Minghao, Shanghai People's Publishing House, 2013.

[3] See Andrew Lang: World Trade Law and Neoliberalism: Reshaping the Global Economic Order, translated by Fan Jian and Wang Jinling, Law Press, 2016.

[4] For related discussions, see Geovani Arrighi: "The Long 20th Century", translated by Yao Naiqiang, Yan Weiming, Han Zhenrong, Jiangsu People's Publishing House, 2011 edition.

[5] David Harvey: "New Imperialism", translated by Chu Lizhong and Shen Xiaolei, Social Sciences Literature Publishing House, 2009 edition, pp. 46-47.

[6] Luke Martel: Globalization from the Perspective of Sociology, translated by Song Yan, Liaoning People's Publishing House, 2014, p. 235.

[7] See Richard Rorty: "Building Our Country", translated by Huang Zongying, Life·Reading·Xinzhi Sanlian Publishing House, 2014 edition.

[8] See Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: Empire, translated by Yang Jianguo and Fan Yiting, Jiangsu People's Publishing House, 2008; Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude, Penguin Books, 2005; Michael Hart, Antonio Negri: "The World of Great Harmony", translated by Wang Xingkun, Renmin University of China Press, 2016 edition.

[9] After Trump took office as President of the United States in 2017, Robert Lighthizer, who served as the U.S. Trade Representative more than 30 years ago, launched the "General Section 301 investigation" against Japan and forced Japan to sign the "Plaza Agreement", was re-appointed as the Trade Representative, and launched a "Section 301 investigation" against China. However, the China Lighthizer is facing this time is not a vassal state of the United States, but a truly independent sovereign state.

[10] For a detailed discussion of the TRIPS negotiation and the intellectual property issues arising therefrom, see Peter Davhouse and John Braithwaite: "Information Feudalism", translated by Liu Xuetao, Intellectual Property Press, 2005 edition.

[11] Jiang Shigong: The End of Civilization and World Empire: The Global Legal Order Constructed by the United States, Sanlian Publishing (Hong Kong) 2021 Edition, Chapter 2.

[12] Jiang Shigong: "Sino-US "Key Decade" - "New Roman Empire" and "New Great Struggle"", in the 9th issue of Oriental Academic Journal.

[15] See Jiang Shigong: "One Family in the World" vs. World Empire: "Deep Globalization" and the Dilemma of Global Governance," Oriental Journal, 2021, No. 4 (coming soon).

This article was originally published on pages 90-103 of the 6th issue of "Cultural Landscape" in 2021, with the original title "Trade and Human Rights (Part 2) - Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire". The article only represents the author's own point of view, welcome to share, please contact the copyright owner for media reprint.

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