China, human rights, and private property

Up and coming world power China has just amended its constitution allowing for a guarantee of human rights and protection of private property. Most of the chatter around this monumental change focus on the private property aspects. A single line; “The state respects and protects human rights” is simply stated and and seems far to inchoate to be serious. However, its a start, and it will allow for precedent to be set by lawmakers.

The cynic in me cringes at the private property part of the amendment, which seems ultimately self-serving to wealthier members of the party. Sadly, this amendment didn’t happen before Three Gorges, which displaced millions, and will ultimately be an exercise in waste and power-plant envy. One of my previous college professors feels that the Three Gorges will be the downfall of the current dynasty, much in the same way that other gigantic state investments have in the past. Ironically, the other two started with a G, but all I can remember is the Great Wall. The other escapes me.

Anyway, there’s a recent NG article on China’s progression to a market economy and the environmental toll that has and will be paid by both the Chinese, and people everywhere on the planet. Its good to see that the government at least recognizes the problem.