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January 08 , 2008

Liu Xiaobo's Empty Chair

Chronicling the Reform Movement Beijing Fears Most; Includes the full text of Charter 08 and other primary documents


When the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced it was awarding the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese literary critic and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, it made special note of his role in writing a remarkable political manifesto called Charter 08. In China, that same document has caused officials to throw him in jail with an 11-year sentence that is extraordinary even by Chinese standards, while taking drastic measures to silence any mention of the text. 

But what is Charter 08 and why has it made Liu such a threat to the Chinese government? Perry Link, a Professor of Chinese literature who has worked closely with the Chinese dissidents who wrote the charter with Liu, for the first time brings together a full English translation of this powerful document and an incisive new profile of Liu himself with a series of short essays chronicling his arrest, show-trial, and imprisonment and the crackdown on the Charter 08 movement since its courageous beginnings two years ago. In an epilogue, Link draws on leaked government documents to reveal Beijing's nervous response to the Arab uprisings in the spring of 2011.

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