“Asian Values” and Human Rights

“Asian Values” and Human Rights

The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights
Edited by Joanne Bauer and Daniel A. Bell Cambridge University Press, 1999
394 pp $57.95 $21.95 (paper)

Books about “Asian values” may seem obsolete these days. What else can be said, when the verdict seems indisputable? Asia’s recent financial crisis has discredited the “Asian way” as a hybrid of capitalism and autocracy, which not long ago was championed by some Asian politicians as morally and economically superior to the Western model. Even more important, Asian democrats, human rights activists, and scholars, including some whose essays are under review here, have debunked the idea that there is a set of values that are “Asian” in the sense that they span the continent’s diverse cultures.

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