On June 23, 2009, the Beijing Public Security Bureau formally arrested Dr. Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), a signer of Charter 08, on charges of “suspicion of incitement to subvert state power” (涉嫌煽动颠覆国家政权罪). That Chinese authorities would take such an extreme measure exactly 100 days prior to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, along with the previously announced mandatory pre-installation of the “Green Dam” filtering software and the all-out attack on rights defense lawyers, sends a grave warning to the international community, signaling further deterioration of human rights conditions in China.
Liu Xiaobo is a prominent Chinese independent intellectual who has long been appealing for improvement in human rights conditions in China and promoting democratic change, for which he has been imprisoned many times by the authorities. Late on December 8, 2008, the eve of the release of Charter 08, he was placed in criminal detention (刑事拘留) by Beijing police and later placed under residential surveillance (监视居住).
Charter 08 is an open appeal to Chinese authorities to promote legal reform and political democracy and guarantee human rights. It was issued by 303 Chinese individuals from all walks of life, including writers, scholars, lawyers, journalists, workers, peasants, entrepreneurs, and retired Party officials, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sets forth 19 specific recommendations, including constitutional reform; separation of administrative, legislative and judicial powers; freedom of association, expression, and religion; and civic education based on universal values and civil rights.
Human Rights in China (HRIC) strongly condemns the Chinese government’s conduct in punishing free speech and trampling on human rights. Such conduct not only violates China’s Constitution, but also deviates from international human rights law – including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed – and is causing strong protests both in China and abroad. Ding Zilin, a spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers, has entrusted HRIC with issuing a statement she has written to call for the release of Liu Xiaobo.
Below is the statement issued by Ding Zilin and Jiang Peikun, translated by HRIC:
For more information on Charter 08 and Liu Xiaobo, plus writings by him, see: