Cina: filosofo di Carta 08 sfida il Governo cinese

Il Partito comunista cinese chiede ad uno dei suoi più importanti intellettuali, Xu Youyu, di ritirare la sua firma da Carta 08, documento firmato da più di 300 persone che chiede al Governo cinese maggiore democrazia, libertà di stampa e rispetto delle opinioni.

Segue l’articolo in inglese.

Police and Party officials have threatened and harassed more than 100 of the 300 leading intellectuals, lawyers and activists who signed Charter 08, a call for a new politics consciously modeled on dissident movements in the former Soviet bloc.

The Charter’s alleged organiser was taken from his home shortly before the document was launched on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights last month, and is still being held.

Scores of people have been interrogated, from young lawyers to elderly veterans of Chairman Mao’s early purges. But none has attracted more attention than Xu Youyu, professor of philosophy at the most prestigious Party-run think-tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He has written an open letter, circulated on the internet, describing how the Institute of Philosophy’s director rang him, accused him of breaching the national constitution and demanding he withdraw his support.

“He called me and gave me a very harsh warning,” Prof Xu, 61, told The Telegraph. “He said the Charter violated the existing constitution and laws of China so I must withdraw my signature.

“My reply was, ‘That’s nonsense’. The Charter is absolutely in accordance with the constitution and law so it’s absolutely impossible for me to withdraw my name.”

He was then summoned to an interrogation with the institute’s Party Secretary – its most senior apparatchik – but is refusing to attend. “I don’t think it’s my duty to obey their orders,” he said.

Four months after the end of the Olympics, there is still no sign of the political liberalisation many outsiders hoped the Games would bring to China.

The leadership has issued repeated warnings that it is determined to ensure “social stability” in 2009 – code for not tolerating any unrest generated by the economic crisis.

Liu Xiaobo, a former political prisoner suspected by the authorities of being a chief organiser of Charter 08, remains under arrest outside Beijing.

Prof Xu, speaking at an outlet of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the capital because of police visits to his home after other interviews, said if the government had not over-reacted the Charter might have gone unnoticed.

But the threats against him forced him to write his open letter. “A friend has told me that the ‘higher-ups’ [believe the Charter to be] … a movement of domestic and overseas hostile forces to collude with each other and plot to overthrow the Chinese government,” he wrote.

“Such an interpretation of the Charter and the allegations of criminality are absurd, but that is not new in China.”

Prof Xu, a former Red Guard who has confessed to taking part in beatings during the Cultural Revolution, rejected his Communist past and studied logic at Oxford University in the 1980s.

A number of the Charter’s other signatories are elderly survivors of Mao’s regime who, in a twist from the traditional assumption that in China geriatric leaders hold out against reform, are now telling conservative younger leaders to reject Mao’s inheritance.

One, Bao Tong, 85, is well-known for regular polemics against his successors in the inner leadership. “Would the powers that be please tell 1.3 billion people why freedom is a crime?” he wrote in defence of the Charter.

“The older generation still believe in ideology, in ideas like justice and democracy,” said Mao Yushi, 79, an economist who was first condemned as a “rightist” in 1957.

For signing Charter 08, he was picked up by police while taking his daily walk at his local park with his wife and interrogated at the local police station about the document’s provenance.

“Luckily we are too old to make any difference,” he said. “We also have some social influence, so if they touch us they will lose more than they gain.”

Prof Xu has been told all signatories will be banned from having their work published on the mainland, or appearing in newspapers.

“And of course, at any moment as I sit at home I await the arrival of the police,” he said.

By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 8:31PM GMT 11 Jan 2009


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