Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08

Forbes: Helen H. Wang

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded for Nobel Peace Prize. Below is an excerpt from my forthcoming book The Chinese Dream that provides readers context for what Liu Xiaobo advocates and why he is imprisoned. I hope the Nobel Peace Prize will help Liu Xiaobo regain freedom soon.

On December 10, 2008, on the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 303 courageous Chinese citizens signed a petition known as “Charter 08,” a manifesto for democracy.

The charter members pointed out that “China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government.” They called for political reform and laid out nineteen recommendations that included overhauling the constitution so that “the constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party”; separation of legislative, judicial, and executive powers; and systematically implementing general elections of public officials. Charter 08 essentially calls for ending one-party rule. Continue reading

2008: The Year of China

On my way back from a family event in Chicago on January 2nd, I was drawn to the magazine rack in a convenient store in O’Hara airport. Among the stacked magazines, the following cover stories caught my attention:

What’s Next: China (Newsweek)

Can the world survive China’s rush to emulate the American way of life?(Mother Jones)

The Newsweek article is particularly interesting, as it provides a balanced view on China (although some insecurity and hostility are still inevitable). Here are some startling statistics cited by Fareed Zakaria for what’s happened to China in 2007: Continue reading