June 24, 2009

Leading Chinese Dissident, Liu Xiaobo, Arrested over Freedom Charter

"A leading dissident who organised a charter signed by hundreds of Chinese thinkers, academics and writers calling for dramatic political and legal reforms was under arrest yesterday.

"Liu Xiaobo, a literary critic first jailed for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, was taken from his home in Beijing late on Monday by a dozen police officers and was asked to sign a document acknowledging his detention. They searched his flat and took away three computers, mobile phones and documents, friends told The Times.

"His arrest came hours before the release on the internet of the “08 Charter”, a rare, outspoken document challenging the ruling Communist Party to grant greater freedom of expression and to hold free elections. Its publication was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today.

"A total of 303 people — from a prominent Tibetan blogger to lawyers and a disgraced former senior Communist Party official — braved possible arrest and jail to put their names to the document. . . . ."

More at the UK Times and Radio Free Asia.

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