Why Are Some States Promoting Asian Values So Energetically

Human Rights and democracy have always created controversy and this can be said to be true in the face of the emergence of the Asian Values discourse.In order to discover why certain states are furthering these types of values we mustfirstly consider what constitutes Asian Values, secondly the reasons for their popularity amongst their proponents and finally the validity of their arguments. Mauzy writes, “to be sure, there is no single pan-Asian view or set of values, there is no uniform ideology, and there is no single cultural system”. Indeed, in view of the diverse nature of the Asian continent it would be unrealistic to suggest all Asians prioritise the same virtues. However, the post-Cold War period has seen the states of the South Eastern region of Asia, especially Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, advance a common batch of specifically Asian Values. It is these values upon which government policies have been based and approaches to Human Rights have been justified Evans. The nature of the Asian Values espoused by the South East Asian states is similar to that of the conservative ‘Victorian values’ or ‘protestant ethic’ evident in Western society a hundred years ago. Mauzy. Indeed, the main values held here include respect for authority, deference to societal interest, emphasis on duty, consensual politics and the centrality of the family in social relations .Evans.Thus implying the prioritisation of community interest and basic duties over individual rights.As Christie and Roy suggest, “in East Asia it is often asserted that their cultures protect the community at the expense of restricting the freedoms of the individual, while the West takes the opposite approach”. Furthermore, the necessity of a strong state is paramount in the Asian view. The 1993 Bangkok Declaration emphasised the notion of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of a state, whilst overlooking the role of the state as a protector of…

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