The Asian values argument within the international human rights debate holds that not all Asian states should be expected to protect human rights to the same degree. This position of cultural relativism , often used by authoritarian governments in Asia, has long been dismissed by Western and Asian human rights advocates as a weak excuse. This study moves beyond the politicized rhetoric to identify the more persuasive contributions by East Asian intellectuals. The editors argue that critical intellectuals in East Asia have begun to chart a middle ground between the extremes of this argument, making particular headway in the areas of group rights and economic, social, and cultural (ethnic minority) rights. The chapters examine the following areas: critical perspectives on the Asian values debate; theoretical proposals for an improved international human rights regime with greater input from East Asians; the resources within East Asian cultural traditions that can help promote human rights; and key human rights issues facing East Asia as a result of rapid economic growth.