Charter 08 and Violent Resistance: The Dark Side of the Chinese <i>Weiquan</i> Movement

Eva Pils

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 Violent Resistance: The Dark Side of the Chinese Weiquan Movement

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This analysis of the weiquan movement focuses on its “dark sides.” Drawing on interviews with lawyers and petitioners, this chapter describes the at-times brutal persecution of rights defenders and discusses increasingly vindictive and violent reactions among some members of the movement. A brief review of attitudes toward violence amongst petitioners, intellectuals, and lawyers shows that beneath an oft-asserted commitment to non-violence in political resistance, there is much doubt and debate within the movement, and that to some violence seems to be the only last answer. While Charter 08 provides little guidance on how to effect the rational, liberal transformation of Chinese society that is so clearly its vision, its protagonist Liu Xiaobo is perhaps best understood through his noble but hard-to-emulate credo of “having no enemies.” In that sense, Charter 08 represents a moral challenge both to the repressive authoritarian state and to the weiquan movement.

Keywords: Charter 08; Liu Xiaobo; Human rights; China; Constititutionalism; Political reform; Weiquan

Chapter.  7699 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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