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UTF-8 character encoding

I'm looking at
and it starts off with
  Use UTF-8 character encoding.

How do I do that and how do I check that I actually did use UTF-8
character encoding _without_ using file?

for whatever it's worth:
$ file unicode.html
unicode.html: HTML document, UTF-8 Unicode text

$ file test.c
test.c: C source, ASCII text

I used vi to create both files & I'd like to understand why file says
one is ascii & the other is utf-8


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