No More Chinese Communist Party

February 9, 2009

China’s whitewashed human rights report vs. Charter 08

When China’s human rights record comes up for review before a key United Nations panel on Monday, this nominally communist country will have two contrasting accounts of its human rights situation.

A petition signed by hundreds of Chinese intellectuals, ordinary people and even some government officials, calls the world’s attention to China’s lack of human rights, claiming “the decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional”.

“The Chinese government’s approach to modernisation has proven disastrous,” the manifesto titled ‘Charter 08’ says. “It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century?”

Inspired by Charter 77, a plea to the communist government of the former Czechoslovakia to respect basic human rights – made by that country’s intellectuals in January 1977- China’s charter was released online on Dec.10th on the 60th anniversary of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has since been signed by more than 4,000 people.

Dissent to government views on human rights though has been smothered inside the country. The dissemination of the politically sensitive Charter 08 has been banned and scores of the original 303 signatories to the document have been summoned to demand their retraction.

“As U.N. members prepare to debate China’s rights record, they should remember that this opportunity is one chronically denied to the vast majority of Chinese people,” says Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. Unnervingly for China’s leaders, Charter 08 links the 1989 Tiananmen “massacre of pro-democracy student protesters” with China’s failure to live up to the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The signatories are calling for an end to one-party authoritarian rule and laying out a vision for a rights-based society where leaders of all levels of government are elected, peasants enjoy the same rights as city-dwellers and freedoms of speech, expression and religion are protected.

“The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change,” the charter says.

Authorities are especially touchy this year as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, as well as sensitive anniversaries for Tibetans and Falun Gong adherents. persian

The communist leadership is worried that the worst economic downturn in two decades and rising unemployment could spark massive social unrest that would threaten its monopoly on power.
Persian Xiaozhao: I Signed My Name After a Good Cry!

“The present situation of maintaining national security and social stability is grave,” public security minister Meng Jianzhu reportedly warned China’s leaders in January, according to state media.


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