The Chinese government is making a big issue out of Charter 08. The method by which the regime of the Communist Party is escalating Charter 08 is by once again showing their true colors as communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs -- demonstrating their rule by arbitrary fiat, in contravention of norms and standards of international human rights such as those in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -- to which the Chinese government is a signatory. They have sentenced the famous dissident Liu Xiaobo, known as a co-author of Charter 08, to spend the next 11 years in prison.
The China Support Network condemns this flagrant outrage; calls for the PRC/CCP government to release Liu Xiaobo; calls upon the U.S. State Department and the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene and to apply pressure to the Chinese government for the purpose of securing the release of Liu Xiaobo; and, CSN calls upon the Chinese people to implement the recommendations of Charter 08. Don't wait for Liu to be free. Don't wait for the Communist Party to move. Don't wait for the American government to move. Charter 08 must be heeded now, and implemented beginning at once.
For researchers who will write about the Chinese democracy movement, the sentence for Liu Xiaobo is an historic turn in the story. And now, the Chinese government has clearly pointed out that which they would suppress: Charter 08. The abuse of Liu Xiaobo is a clear indicator that the CCP fears Charter 08 and its influence upon society.
Liu Xiaobo became prominent as a leader in Tiananmen Square's uprising of 1989, for which he became a political prisoner (twice previously). He has been prominently visible as a writer, an intellectual, and a leading dissident voice. And one year ago, he was involved in the preparation of Charter 08, a document whose release was timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2008.
As described by the group, Human Rights In China,
"Charter 08 is an open appeal to Chinese authorities to promote legal reform and political democracy and guarantee human rights. It was issued by 303 Chinese individuals from all walks of life, including writers, scholars, lawyers, journalists, workers, peasants, entrepreneurs, and retired Party officials, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sets forth 19 specific recommendations, including constitutional reform; separation of administrative, legislative and judicial powers; freedom of association, expression, and religion; and civic education based on universal values and civil rights."
Charter 08 started with 303 co-signers, and later attracted thousands of signers as an internet petitiion. A Facebook group for Charter 08 has 1,251 members. On Twitter, @freeliuxiaobo has 397 followers.
Two notable features of Charter 08 are (1.) its call for the end of one-party rule -- the monopoly on power currently held by the Chinese Communist Party; and (2.) it follows the pattern of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. Charter 77 was an effort by anti-communist dissidents in Czechoslovakia to change their country during a time when it was still dominated by Soviet Communism. Due to the first aspect, Charter 08 directly challenges Communist Party rule in China; and, due to the second aspect, Charter 08 is not just a document; it's a movement.
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