Charter 08: China’s dictators fear it

Charter 08

Charter 08 is a manifesto drafted and signed by Chinese intellectuals calling for reform of China’s human rights. It was issued on 10 December 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is inspired by Charter 77, the Czech manifesto that called for reform in communist Czechoslovakia. When Charter 08 was issued it was signed by 303 Chinese intellectuals and dissidents, and has since been signed by several thousand people inside and outside China.

The author of Charter 08 is the intellectual Mr Liu Xiaobo (right) who was imprisoned and sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009. This led to international protests. Liu Xiaobo is the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to the great annoyance of the Beijing regime.

“It is vital that European and worldwide pressure is maintained on this tyrannous regime.  The heroic authors and signatories of Charter 08 deserve the most widespread support.” Vaclav Havel, sponsor of Charter 77, former president of the Czech republic, 20 September 2010

This website is a resource sponsored by Edward McMillan-Scott (left) a Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for Democracy and Human Rights.  McMillan-Scott’s campaign for a political boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was backed by the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament, as well as the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner.

After McMillan-Scott’s last visit to Beijing in 2006, all the Chinese with whom he had contact – reformists, ex-prisoners of conscience – were arrested, imprisoned and in some cases tortured.  Among them were noted Christian human rights attorney Mr Gao Zhisheng (right). McMillan-Scott has nominated Gao for the Nobel Peace Prize each year since 2008, when he was widely expected to win. The prize went to a forner Finnish president aftercontroversial visits to China by Nobel committee members.

Beijing walked out of an EU/China summit in December 2008 after McMillan-Scott’s nominee for the European Parliament’s annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Expression went to his imprisoned Beijing contact, green campaigner Mr Hu Jia (left). Hu had contributed by telephone from Beijing to two press conferences organised by McMillan-Scott, and to a meeting of the European Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, after which he was arrested.


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