Charter 08

image The news that Chinese intellectual Liu Xiaobo has been sentenced to 11 years’ jail for helping to draft Charter 08 led me to look back at the document itself, to see what it actually contained. Here are some of the kinds of ‘radical’ things it advocates:

  • An independent judiciary.
  • Public control of public servants.
  • Guarantee of human rights.
  • Election of public officials.
  • Rural–urban equality.
  • Freedom of association.
  • Freedom of assembly.
  • Freedom of expression.
  • Freedom of religion.
  • Civic education.
  • Protection of private property.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

And in the NYT report, this paragraph left me gobsmacked:

Liu Di, a signer of Charter 08, was among a handful of people who declared their desire to stand trial with Mr. Liu Xiaobo. “For the dignity of the Constitution and the law, and for no more imprisonment of people for their independent opinions, I would prefer to share with Mr. Liu Xiaobo the same case with the same penalty,” wrote Ms. Liu, a blogger better known by her online identity, the Stainless Steel Mouse.

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1 Response to Charter 08

  1. Thanks Andrew for a very interesting post. I was particularly interested in your reference to Liu Di. She was one of the first “internet prisoners” whom Amnesty campaigned for some years ago. I did not realise that she was a signatory to Charter 08. A very brave woman.

    Let us hope that Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment leads to action in China. You may be interested in the moving address which his wife delivered to PEN America thanking it for awarding the 2009 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award to her husband, available at: (May 2009).

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