Xujun Eberlein: Revolution or Reform? – A Summary of the “Charter 08” Dispute
Curiously, major US media outlets, CNN including, have been unusually quiet, despite the fact that the Charter is hailed as a major breakthrough by its supporters. Time Magazine and the Christian Science Monitor were pretty much alone in reporting on the Charter, with the latter commenting in a somewhat upbeat tone that “the Communist Party’s hesitancy to crack down harshly on the scholars, lawyers, engineers, and others who issued the so-called ‘Charter 08’ document sends a subtle signal of hope.”
More curious, and changing, reactions, came from Falun Gong, or FLG, a religious and political group that has been banned in mainland China. A search on FLG’s Chinese language website Sunday came up with 100 links cheering “Charter 08,” with titles such as “Reform Is Dead, Long Live Revolution!” However a click on any of those links gave only a blank page. Remnants of posts here and there indicate that FLG originally found “Charter 08” an exciting sign of the coming revolution and supported it whole-heartedly. Later, though, they made a 180 degree turn after the FLG leader deemed the manifesto not revolutionary enough, but rather a “ghost shadow” of the communist party.
Understandably however, revolution is favored by few Chinese, whether supporters or contenders of Charter 08. In contrast, many pointed out the legitimacy of Charter 08 in accordance with China’s constitution.