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