Facebook: In her chapter on the right to food, Libiao Ning sheds also the light on the role of human rights in the Chinese culture #RightToFood #China Twitter: Sceptical about human rights in China? Libiao Ning´s chapter on the right to food might change your opinion #RightToFood #China

Even though there is a relatively wide-spread conviction that human rights in China might be sometimes seen as “neo-colonial tool of oppression” and for this reason there is a reluctance to recognize them, the record shows that China does not have concerns with acknowledging of the so-called subsistence rights, such as the right to food or the right to water. Some scholars have attempted to derive the cultural foundation for human rights from the ancient Chinese thought, an example of which might represent the philosophy of Confucianism. Chinese representatives participating in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights even tried to leave the traces of Confucianist thought in the text of the document. Libiao Ning in her chapter “The Right to Food in China: Cultural Foundation, Present, and Future” in the book “China´s Influence on Non-Trade Concerns in International Economic Law” addresses the issue of human rights in the Chinese context, while putting emphasis on the right to food. The echo of the Confucianist concept of Ren (benevolence), which is seen as the cultural foundation of the concept of human rights in the Chinese culture, might be even heard in official documents adopted by the Communist Party of China, which extensively refer to the need to improve the lives of the people and contribute to the creation of a “harmonious” society. The right to food has been consistently seen as a necessary precondition for the realization of these efforts by the Chinese leadership. This approach has been demonstrated not only by adoption of multiple policy documents but also by the adoption of laws relevant from the perspective of the right to food, such as Law on Agriculture and Food Safety Law, guaranteeing certain standards and establishing mechanisms for risk control and compliance in this regard. However, as it is often the case in the Chinese context, there is a discrepancy between the letter of laws and their implementation in practice. As Libiao Ning argues, to improve the compliance with laws, it is necessary to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms and open the access to justice mechanisms concerning food-related issues. The public should have a possibility to keep an oversight over eventual government´s failures and to address deficiencies in this regard. Also, from the perspective of social justice, it is necessary to address the differences between urban and rural areas concerning food distribution and access to food, which is inextricably linked also with the broader issue of poverty. Libiao Ning invites the readers to learn more about on this topic in her chapter.