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Charter 08, a plea for human rights in China

ICC Note:

The full text of the document that is calling the Chinese government to account for democracy and human rights, Charter 08. Many signatories of this document have already been detained and interrogated.


1/26/09 China (AsiaNews) A group of 303 Chinese citizens signed ‘Charter 08’, a declaration to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In it they call on the government of China to transform the country’s authoritarian and corrupt regime along democratic lines, respectful of human rights, including religious freedom.

In the case of ‘Charter 08’ many signatories are Chinese academics but many others are ordinary people, from the business world to rural communities. Their goal is not to create a political party but rather to start a movement of cultural transformation to radically change China.

The manifesto’s publication has however already created fear and has led to arrests.

One signatory, Liu Xiaobo (pictured), an intellectual, was taken into police custody on 8 December. Another, Zhang Zuhua, was interrogated for 12 hours and then released. Yesterday scientist Jiang Qisheng and Beijing lawyer Pu Zhiqiang were questioned by police. Mr Pu is also closely followed and his movements are restricted by the police.

Anyone who wishes to express their support should write to [email protected].

Translated from the Chinese by Perry Link. I. FOREWORD

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of the Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

… full story contains full text of Charter 08.

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