The Concept of ‘Animal Rights’ in China – Dispelling Western Myths

Chinese Scientists ‘Bow’ Out of Respect for Dead Medical Animals

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

‘French enlightenment thinker Rousseau briefly described the concept of animal rights in his preface to “On the Origin and Foundation of Human Inequality “, saying that humans evolved from animals without with the ‘lack’ of an essential being as in other animals. This essential bring involbed the possession of “Intelligence and freedom” – but other animals can also conscious, as such “they should also enjoy the rights granted by nature, and human beings have an obligation to uphold this.” He specifically stated that “animals have the right not to be abused.”

Below is a page covering the concept of ‘Animal Rights’ from the Chinese language internet. Although viewed as a relatively recent Western idea, Chinese scholars are of the opinion that such ideas as loving kindness and compassion toward animals are in fact ‘Buddhist’ and originated in ancient India thousands of years ago. Furthermore, China possesses numerous laws protecting animals from cruelty, and teaches schoolchildren to ‘value’ all life regardless of its manifestation. This is the Socialist position. It is also true that as China subscribes to International Law and is a Member of the United Nations (UN) – China as a country is also subject to ALL agreed International Laws concening Animal Welfare. Therefore, the usual ‘racist’ Western position (dominant in many so-called ‘Animal Rights’ groups) which assumes a priori that China possesses ‘no animal rights’ (so as to facilitate the alleged ‘cruelty’ Chinese people are falsely taught to practice) is completely untrue and has no basis in fact. Of course, this does not stop people in the West spreading this racist lie, or spreading videos of animal cruelty from around the world falsely stating it is all ‘happening in China’! Indeed, as many Buddhists and Daoists in China are vegetarian and vegan, it is correct to say that genuine animal welfare (which opposes mass slaughter) is far stronger in China than in other parts of the world. In a broader sense, it is argued that animal require greater ‘welfare’ as supplied by humans, BEFORE the granting of any theoretical rights that the average animal is unable to cognise or understand. Switzerland declared animals ‘beings’ instead of ‘objects’ in 1992, and this change has led to a number of animal welfare reforms (although Swiss people remain the only Europeans to still eat dog meat)

The concept of animal rights is derived from Henry Salt, a British social reformer, who published a widely influential book, Animal Rights: The Relationship with Social Progress , published in 1882. Henry Salt formed the Humanitarian Alliance in 1981, one of campaign of which was to ban hunting.

In Mainland China, Professor Zhao Nanyuan  (赵南元) of Qinghua University has been committed to arguing with domestic animal powerists. He believes that animal powerists’ theories are similar to the teachings of Buddhism but are not as systematic or self-explanatory as Buddhism. He also compared radical animal rights activists to terrorists, believing that they also violated the rights of others in the perpetuation of their own beliefs. 

It is interesting to note that the voices and awareness of animal protection in the people have been increasing in recent years, and various institutions, websites, online communities, etc. regarding animal rights, animal welfare , etc. have continuously emerged, such as the “refusal to eat cat and dog meat” campaign. 

Original Chinese Language Article:动物权利主义

One comment

  1. Went to China on a tour its was fantastic, I would love to go again but no money and old age go together, I had a frozen shoulder on the boat there was a man showing how to do Tai chi he asked me why I was not lifting my arm I told him I was going to have an operation when I got back to the UK they were going to grind some of my bone away he pressed my shoulder and said why when there was no need, he asked me would I like Eastern or Western medicine I said I didn’t know the difference western he said he would give me a pill after a year he would give me two pills one for the problem and one for the damage the first one had done, Eastern solution was a long needle I told I’m I was in for a laugh he stuck the needle in and hit the roof he said Westerners are soft he pulled the needle back about a thousdth of an inch and the pain went then he said how many I told him I didn’t know he said 18 and my wife said yes, One hour per day for a week and I have had no problems since he told me it would catch me in the winter if I got cold and he was right, I told the hospital when I got back and I was told if only if we could look into it


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