China's Charter 08 - too early to tell?
20 Jan 2009

Rebecca MacKinnon knows more than practically anyone other westerner about free expression in China. Over at her blog, rconversation, she has written a rather excellent and comprehensive (read ‘long’) analysis of Charter 08, the pro-reform manifesto recently issued by Chinese intellectuals and activists. It seems that many, while supportive of Charter 08’s aims, are unsure of how to attain them. Some see media freedom as key, says Rebecca:

Most people I’ve spoken with are not particularly optimistic that China will attain the goals outlined in Charter 08 any time soon, and some were skeptical that China ever will. Many felt that the first step is to build platforms that enable the Chinese people to engage in an informed discourse about their future so that concrete solutions and strategies for getting from A to B – or perhaps to some other Point C – can eventually emerge. The Internet is already facilitating a great deal of discourse, despite all the censorship, propaganda, nationalism, manipulation, and cyber-mob behavior. A more constructive discourse would be possible, many argue, if a law could be passed upholding the right of journalists to do their jobs. Thus some people are focusing on building professionalism and improving the quality of Chinese journalism, and trying to push for more media freedoms.

Read it all here

Read Rebecca Mackinnon’s article for Index on Censorship on China’s Internet pioneers here (pdf)


Padraig Reidy

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