published in Huffington Post
Jiang Qisheng was among the first to sign the pro-democracy manifesto -- which calls for a radical departure from China's current one party system. In doing so, the 60-year-old Beijing writer put his freedom, his livelihood, even his life at grave risk.
But he had lived through the massacres of Tiananmen Square, and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and had great hope in the power of this document to provoke change.
"I think the charter has addressed very well what our people have tried to accomplish for over 100 years: to change the system from tyranny to democracy," said Jiang in a telephone conversation through a translator.
But not all China human rights activists and scholars share his sense of optimism about the petition, known as Charter 08. While most agree that a petition signed by so many ordinary people inside China is a historic first, there is no consensus on its importance or that the new movement will succeed.Sphere: Related Content