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Less than 10 days ago, I wrote this post about Beijing police forcibly stopped prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波 from attending a Transition Institute seminar. A few days later when I wrote about Jiang Yiping’s removal from the Southern Metropolis Daily, I foreshadowed a major crackdown targeting prominent dissidents. The prediction is coming true even faster than I expect. Liu Xiaobo was arrested late last night on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. Here are the links to the Human Rights in China announcement about Liu’s arrest: in Chinese and in English. Another human rights activist Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦) was also detained for interrogation and was released 12 hours later.
It is understood that Liu’s arrest is related to an open letter issued by a group of 303 Chinese writers, intellectuals, lawyers, journalists, retired Party officials, workers, peasants, and businessmen in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The letter, known as 08 Charter 零八宪章, makes 19 recommendations in its call for democracy in China. These recommendations include:
1. A new constitution
2. Separation of powers
3. Democratic direct election of members of legislative body
4. An Independent Judiciary
5. Ending Chinese Communist Party control of the military, the police and other public servants
6. Guarantee of human rights protection against illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment
7. Democratic elections based on “one person, one vote” and direct election of administrative heads of governments at all levels
8. Rural-urban equality through the abolition of the two-tier household registration system
9. Freedom to form groups
10. Freedom to assemble
11. Freedom of expression
12. Freedom of religion
13. Replacing of political curriculums in schools with civic education
14. Protection of private property
15. Financial and tax reform to promote greater transparency and accountability in public finance
16. Social security that ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment
17. Protection of the environment and promote sustainable development
18. A federated republic as a way to resolve conflict over the issues of Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and other national minorities
19. The restoration of reputations of those who had suffered political stigma in past political campaigns, or have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith
Perry Link has provided a full English translation of 08 Charter, which will be published in the January 09 edition of the New York Review of Books.
See China Digital Times for a summary of news reports in major English language media.