Charter 08 and Charta 77: <i>East European Past as China's Future</i>?

Michaela Kotyzova

in Liu Xiaobo, Charter 08 and the Challenges of Political Reform in China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789888139064
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9789882209732 | DOI:
Charter 08 and Charta 77: East European Past as China's Future?

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This chapter offers a comparison between Charter 08 and Charta 77, the manifesto written by Czechoslovak dissidents, mainly Vàclav Havel and Jan Patocka, to demand the respect of human rights by the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. The two charters are similar in their content, both invoking international human rights norms and both attempting to function largely within the existing legal framework. Another related similarity between the two lies in the fact that their objectives are not so much to subvert the regimes as to provide a support structure when the regimes fall. However, despite their similarities, both exist in drastically different political and economic contexts. China in 2008 was different from Czechoslovakia in 1977 in terms of the politics, economy, and soft power that the respective communist parties may have, and those differences affect the impact of the respective charters in society.

Keywords: Charter 08; Charta 77; Eastern Europe; Czechoslovakia; Vàclav Havel; Jan Patocka; Political reform; Liu Xiaobo; Human rights; China; Constititutionalism

Chapter.  7050 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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