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5/1/2009 Paris - It was hard not to think of poet Lin Zhao when I heard about Charter 08 in China. The charter is a sweeping petition for democracy, civil reform, and to "end the practice of viewing words as crimes."

It was signed by 2,000 brave and quixotic Chinese in December – and then seemed to be quashed. But no: It is gaining traction on the Internet; even some Chinese officials have raised the question of democracy and the party's absolute hold on power.

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