Charter 08, the Troubled History and Future of Chinese Liberalism

Japan Focus
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Japan Focus: an Asia Pacific Journal, 2010, 2 pp. 1 - 18
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The publication of Charter 08 in China at the end of 2008 was a major event generating headlines all over the world. It was widely recognized as the Chinese human rights manifesto and a landmark document in Chinas quest for democracy. However, if Charter 08 was a clarion call for the new march to democracy in China, its political impact has been disappointing. Its primary drafter Liu Xiaobo, after being kept in police custody over one year, was sentenced on Christmas Day of 2009 to 11 years in prison for the the crime of inciting subversion of state power, nor has the Chinese communist party-state taken a single step toward democratisation or improving human rights during the year.1 This article offers a preliminary assessment of Charter 08, with special attention to its connection with liberal forces in China.
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