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December 10, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright December 10, 2008. Used by permission.


The biggest China news story of the moment is the issuance of Charter 08, a declaration that was created to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is inspired in part by “Charter 77,” the famous Czech group, and the arrest and detention of some of its signatories. Here are five things to read to help put the document into context, or learn more about those being help because of it.

1) Charter 08 itself, translated into English by Perry Link, can be found here.

2) A sophisticated exploration of the events of 1989 by Charter 08 signer Liu Xiaobo, who both was part of an important Tiananmen Square hunger strike then and remains active as a critical intellectual in China, can be found here and an English language translation of one of his more recent pieces (on press censorship) can be found here.

3) Li Datong, another Charter 08 signer, has been regularly writing insightful pieces for openDemocracy, such as this recent one on the need for greater government accountability in China.

4) For background on Charter 08 signer Ding Zilin, see this piece that China Beat’sSusan Jakes did when she was working for Time Magazine.

5) A fascinating online collection of documents about Charter 77 can be foundhere.