Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Defining Individual Rights: Constructive or Deconstructive? A Comment on the Fourth Forum of Confucian-Christian Dialogue

Author: REN Yichao, Ph.D. Candidate, Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies of Shandong University XIE Wenyu, Professor, Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies of Shandong University



In October of 2017, Hong Kong Baptist University hosted a forum with a theme “Individual and Community: Contradiction or Interaction? – Dialogue Among Confucians, Christians and Liberals.” This was the fourth forum in the series Christian-Confucian Dialogue Forum. In the context of liberalism, individual rights are natural and innate. Yet, when dealing with the relationship between individual and community, it is not so easy to clearly justify individual rights. Indeed, Christian and Confucian conceptions of individual rights are quite different. Prof. FAN Ruiping talked about the Confucian concept of human rights, in which individual’s rights must be defined in the context of family relations. Meanwhile, Prof. Kai Man Kwan introduced a Christian concept of two-dimensional humanity to demonstrate the inner tension within individual rights. The two scholars analyzed existential consciousness and compared Confucian and Christian perspectives with that of liberalism. They came to a common viewpoint: that in understanding individual rights we must appeal to the concept of deconstruction, i.e., that the individual rights to one’s consciousness are a process of deconstruction. The two scholars presented respectively different perspectives in delineating such deconstructions in real life. This review summarizes their main ideas and offers some reflections on this aspect of Confucian-Christian Dialogue.



individual rights, family, individual, community, deconstruction


Full Text (International Version):

REN Yichao XIE WenyuSCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

REN Yichao XIE WenyuSCN JSCC.pdf