12/24/2009, 00.00
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Bao Tong: The verdict against Liu Xiaobo marks the end of the Chinese constitution

The author of Charter 08 on trial yesterday for "subversion", awaits his verdict tomorrow. Condemning Liu means condemning freedom of expression that is defended in the Chinese constitution. The Party with its "arbitrary and monopolistic" exercise of power is the real "subversive".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A verdict of conviction for Liu Xiaobo, expected tomorrow, means a condemnation of the Chinese constitution, which thus becomes a " null and void" document. So says Bao Tong, former aide to Zhao Ziyang, later imprisoned for his opposition to the massacre of Tiananmen.   Bao Tong is among the signatories of Charter 08, the manifesto in defence of human rights in China, published last year, due to which Liu Xiaobo - one of the authors - was arrested a year ago yesterday and tried for "subversion against state power. " His verdict is expected tomorrow.

Charter 08, signed by 300 first and then by tens of thousands of Chinese - including Party members - calls for more attention from the Communist leadership to human rights in China and political and social reforms such as the separation between government and the Communist Party, and the distinction of legislative, judicial and executive powers. The document also demands religious freedom for communities of all faiths, casting aside the division between "normal" (ie controlled) and "illegal" (not controlled) activities (See 26/01/2009 Charter 08, a plea for human rights in China | complete text).  

The trial of Liu Xiaobo is actually a trial of the demands contained in Charter 08, which in turn are recorded in the Chinese constitution.   This is why Bao Tong maintains, "if they [the government and the Party] tell the court to rule against Charter 08, it is none other then taking away the citizens' right to freedom of expression, publication, association, protest and demonstration ... This means announcing that the constitution is null and void. "   Bao Tong's allegations are contained in an essay published in full by Radio Free Asia. In it, the statesman ironically the charges of "subversion" that weigh against Liu Xiaobo.

Given the fact that the Chinese constitution states that "all power comes from the people," Bao said: "subverting the state means to remove power from the people and give it to someone else. Any act that does not have this result can not be called subversion. "

Charter 08 demand elections at all levels of the state. Thus, those who violate the " power of the people " is the party itself.   Restrictions against freedom of expression and association in China are "arbitrary and monopolistic", contrary to the rule of law.


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