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BERLIN/BEIJING (2010/10/11) - Berlin is unanimously cheering the fact that this year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo. Already in the past, Chancellor Merkel has taken initiatives in favor of this Chinese "dissident" demanding his release from prison and will continue to do so, declared a spokesperson for the German government. Liu received the prize for his "struggle for fundamental human rights in China", writes the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a matter of fact, Liu is demanding nothing less than the overthrow of the People's Republic of China. Unlike petitions from other Chinese "dissidents", the "Charter 08," which he co-authored, is no human rights resolution, but rather a comprehensive political program, seeking a fundamental transformation of China. Among the demands is the creation of a federal state, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, a complete rupture with the Chinese state tradition covering several millennia. In addition the program calls for the reversal of all nationalization measures, taken since the founding of the People's Republic. This would mean rescinding the land reform that has assured the small farmers' existence to this day and the fulfillment of the demands of Western companies seeking to expand to China.

Plunge into Chaos

The essence of the 2008 published "Charter 08", so acclaimed in Berlin, is the total transformation of the People's Republic of China to accord with a western model. The name is patterned after the Czechoslovak government opposition's "Charta 77" published in 1977. The authors hardly mentioned the fact that there had already been an attempt to "modernize" China, by having it adapt to the Western-style system and how a renewed failure of this sort of transformation can be prevented, remains their secret. Bourgeois revolutionaries under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen overthrew China's last imperial dynasty in 1911 and attempted to provide the country a Western-type constitution. The model did not work and China sank into civil war and chaos. The governing party at the time, the Kuomintang ("National/Nationalist People's Party") was unable to insure the territorial integrity of the country and reverted - beginning in the late 1920s - to implementing an increasingly open dictatorial form of government, which eventually grew into a Kuomintang single-party dictatorship. Japan's aggression, in 1937 against the now defenseless Republic of China, exposed this system's weaknesses. This was eventually followed by the revolution, which led to the founding of the People's Republic of China.


The orientation of "Charter 08's" economic policy is particularly radical. The paper calls for a comprehensive privatization and suppression of state enterprises.1 In the People's Republic of China, there is a right to private property, and in the past 25 years, the private sector of the economy has been growing increasingly stronger. Today it ranks second, behind state enterprises, in the forms of property in the country. It is doubtful, to say the least, that there is much approbation for the demand of suppressing state enterprises, which comprise, by far, the largest segment of "communal property". As a matter of fact, in the People's Republic there is growing resentment to the privatizations taking place over the past few decades. The demand for "more equality" or for a - limited - return to a planned economy is being raised more often. The "Charter 08" is heading in the opposite direction, demanding a complete privatization - in the midst of a global economic crisis, in which public acceptance for the neo-classical economic models is internationally declining. The authors of "Charter 08" are in line with the wishes of Western companies, expanding to China - pleading continuously for a lifting of the limitations - especially those on foreign ownership of property.

Purging Peasants?

Going far beyond these demands, "Charter 08" is calling for a reversal of the land reform and privatization of land ownership.2 The land reform, which has been proceeding through several phases since 1950, initially expropriated the land of the large land owners and war criminals and reapportioned their estates to peasants and medium-sized farmers. The collectivization carried out since the mid 50s - where the farmers formed cooperatives and people's communes - has been reversed to a large extent since the end of the 1970s. Today Chinese farmers are free to decide whether they want to conduct their business privately or in the form of a cooperative or a collective. The nationalization of the land, currently in force, the furthest reaching measure of the land reform, was carried out only since the end of the 50s. Since then, all land, including the land, on which farmers have built and planted all their lives - and to which they enjoy special hereditary concessions - is being leased from the state. The "Charter 08," being praised in Berlin, explicitly demands the re-privatization of the land. But through which juridical and practical procedure, the land that the poor peasants and medium-sized farmers have been working for 60 years, is to be taken away and redistributed, is not explained in the document.

Total Break

In their consequences, the "Charter 08" demands would essentially mean a complete revision of the constitution, the breakup of the People's Republic and the establishment of a "Federal Republic of China". The essential revisions have less to do with "freedom of expression" or "democracy", but rather with the political economic order. Contrary to all Chinese tradition, political centralism is to be abolished. Together with Hong Kong and Macao, whose political systems must be preserved, a federative constituted "Federal Republic of China" is to be erected.3 For thousands of years, China has had a centralized state. Already back in the Qin Dynasty, 2,500 years ago, uniformed systems of measurements and weights, a common currency, as well as a state system centralized around an imperial capital and emperor had been developed. All subsequent political systems, including the various imperial dynasties, the national bourgeois "Republic of China" of 1911 and the People's Republic have maintained the orientation of centrally administering this enormous country, with its dozens of national entities and provinces. The demand of federalization is oriented on the system in the Federal Republic of Germany, among others - without these models being explicitly mentioned. "Charter 08" does not answer the question of how a country with 1.44 billion citizens, stretched across such an enormous territory should be federatively administered and simultaneously maintained as a nation state.

Freedom to Overthrow China

The German chancellor, in consonance with all of the Western heads of states, has been intervening on behalf of Liu Xiaobo, who is serving his prison sentence for calling for the overthrow of the People's Republic. Berlin, which is not particularly known for its sympathy toward any possible domestic plans of subversion in Germany, is demanding his liberation.4 The "Charter 08" program has been translated into German and reviewed more often in Germany, since Liu's nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize was made public.5 It is sure that this document will receive wide-ranging attention from leading media organs, providing the anti-Chinese agitation in Germany a new element for use in future campaigns to weaken their political rival in Beijing, campaigns such as during the run-up to the Olympics in 2008.6

1, 2 China's Charter 08 Ziffer 14; www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jan/15/chinas-charter-08/. See also Germany Versus China (III)
3 China's Charter 08 Ziffern 1 und 18
4 Chinas Herrscher stemmen sich gegen den Westen; www.spiegel.de 08.10.2010
5 s. etwa www.oai.de/de/publikationen/oai-blog/42-kaleidoskop/155-liu-x
6 see also The Olympic Torch Relay Campaign

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