2009: China’s Charter 08
China - Politik & Wirtschaft
China's Charter 08 | by Perry Link | The New York Review of Books
China’s Charter 08
The prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, one of the first signers of Charter 08, who was taken away by police on December 8, 2008, and is believed to be in police custody
translated from the Chinese by Perry Link
JANUARY 15, 2009 ISSUE
The document below, signed by more than two thousand Chinese citizens, was conceived and written in conscious admiration of the founding of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, where, in January 1977, more than two hundred Czech and Slovak intellectuals formed a loose, informal, and open association of people… united by the will to strive individually and collectively for respect for human and civil rights in our country and throughout the world.
The Chinese document calls not for ameliorative reform of the current political system but for an end to some of its essential features, including one-party rule, and their replacement with a system based on human rights and democracy.
The prominent citizens who have signed the document are from both outside and inside the government, and include not only well-known dissidents and intellectuals, but also middle-level officials and rural leaders. They chose December 10, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the day on which to express their political ideas and to outline their vision of a constitutional, democratic China. They want Charter 08 to serve as a blueprint for fundamental political change in China in the years to come. The signers of the document will form an informal group, open-ended in size but united by a determination to promote democratization and protection of human rights in China and beyond.
Following the text is a postscript describing some of the regime’s recent reactions to it.