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Non Violence

By neemstackz Apr 23, 2014 1870 Words
English 802
Nonviolence paper

The problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties only concerns are victory and self-defense. In these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. What matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. This problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence. Gandhi started this nonviolent approach in India, Martin Luther King learned from Gandhi’s tactics and used them in the 1950’s, and in 1989 the students in Tiananmen Square used the same approach. All of these people had success to some extent. Non-violent resistance strategies, such as those pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are designed to avoid this trap by absolutely refusing to be drawn into a violent confrontation. This is a strategy that requires tremendous courage, self-control, as well as a willingness to endure pain and sometimes even death. The strength of nonviolence lies in its ability to dramatically reduce the moral legitimacy of those who persist in using violent strategies against non-violent opposition. Non-violent resistance is a strategy for countering the power of violent force with the power of the integrative system. Many non-violent techniques can also be effective when used against illegitimate uses of legal, political, or other types of force. As a theologian, Martin Luther King reflected often on his understanding of nonviolence. He described his own “pilgrimage to nonviolence” in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, and in other books and articles. “True pacifism,” or “nonviolent resistance,” King wrote, is “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love” (King, 80). Both morally and practically committed to nonviolence, King believed that “the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom” (King, 79). King said that he was first introduced to nonviolence when he read Henry David Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience in College. Growing up in Atlanta and witnessed segregation and racism every day, King was “fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system” (King, 73).  While committed to nonviolence, King did not experience the power of nonviolent direct action first hand until the start of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. During the boycott King personally enacted Gandhian principles. King eventually decided not to use armed bodyguards despite threats on his life, and reacted to violent experiences, such as the bombing of his home, with compassion. Through the practical experience of leading nonviolent protest, King came to understand how nonviolence could become a way of life applicable to all situations (King, 83). King called the principle of nonviolent resistance the “guiding light of our movement. Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method” (King, 95).  During the years after the bus boycott, King grew increasingly committed to nonviolence. An India trip in 1959 helped him connect more intimately with Gandhi’s legacy. King began to advocate nonviolence not just national but internationally as well: “the potential destructiveness of modern weapons” convinced King that “the choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence” (King, 24).  June 4th 1989, about 2000 civilians are killed in the Tiananmen Square. The reason behind this is because protestors wanted more rights. A silent protesting action because a massacre after the government gave their last warning. China had changed a lot after the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the government gave people more rights. The protesting action started on April 15th, it's after the death of Mr. Yaobang Hu. Yaobang Hu is one of the famous leaders that asked for democracy for the Chinese and he's one of the anti-corruption leaders. People from the famous schools in China started to gather around the Tiananmen Square. On May 4th, more than 100,000 people gathered in front of the Tiananmen Square, almost started a political war between democracy and communism. People used civil disobedience to protest by splashing ink on Mao's picture on Tiananmen Square and they were later jailed. 

The Chinese Government sent military out and they said that if the protestors do not move out of the military entrance and continue to protest, they would attack the people. On July 3rd, the people continued to do their civil disobedience. That night, the Chinese government ordered the military to attack. The protestors did not even attack or provoke the soldiers but the military fired. The soldiers actually fired at their own people just to get them off the military entrance. The attack continued until June 5th. During that period of time, tanks were sent out and they showed no mercy to the protestors. The explanation of the attack is because more and more students join the protest and they attacked the military. They need to stop this before more people joins and more people getting injured.
The protestors were students, they are not going to attack the military or start a revolution, and all they want is to show the government that they want democracy. The students on the street didn't hold any weapons, because it's just an act of showing the government what they want, not starting a war with the military. The military used expanding bullets, which are prohibited by the United Nations. These bullets expand or explode after they entered someone's body. It is inhumane to kill people with expanding bullets or crushing them with tanks. All the military want was to get the people out of the Tiananmen Square; they could use tear gas instead of the expanding bullets or rifles. In the morning of June 5th, the streets of Beijing city were filled with corpses. Corpses were stacked up and nobody cleaned them up, or at least the government did not even inform the family members of the dead to pick their corpse home. 

When the Chinese military moved into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989 to forcibly remove pro-democracy protestors, an anonymous man famously decided to place himself in front of the long column of Chinese tanks that were rumbling into the area. One of the most famous people in the twentieth century appears in an incident, he is the Tank Man, or the Unknown Protester whose eagerness of freedom inspired the world. In the morning of June 5th morning, the tanks were trying to get out of Tiananmen Square. The people got out of the way of the tanks right away; because they knew that the tanks will kill them after what happened on June 4th. However, there was brave student, who knew the consequences but he doesn't care. He stood in front of the tanks and tried to stop the tanks from going out. He knew that the tanks are going to squash him, but to him, peace might be more important than his life. According to "", the website of times magazine, reporter Charlie Cole said," I think his action captured peoples' hearts everywhere, and when the moment came, his character defined the moment, rather than the moment defining him. He made the image. I was just one of the photographers. And I felt honored to be there." His bravery and his eagerness for peace and democracy had spread around the world. He moved when the tanks tried to go around him, he climbed up the tank to talk to one of the soldiers but nobody knew what they were talking about. Since then, the government's attitude toward Tiananmen Square has shifted from counter messaging to dismissal. In 1990, then-General Secretary Jiang Zemin called the international controversy "much ado about nothing." In 2003, Premier Wen Jiabao referred to the incident as occurring "in the last century." Leaders now call it settled history and decline to elaborate. The government also avoids discussing the death count. No one knows exactly how many people died the night of June 3, since information is scarce and unreliable. Most estimates range from about 150 to 3,000 deaths. The Chinese Red Cross initially reported 2,600 deaths but quickly retracted its statement. Some news organizations have reported an official government number of 241, but it's unclear who arrived at that figure or how. The most conservative estimate comes from the group Tiananmen Mothers, a group of relatives of people killed in the massacre, which has confirmed 186 deaths, although not all at the hands of the army. Relatively few deaths actually occurred in the square itself most of the violence took place in the streets surrounding it.                                    The Chinese government also uses its own language to refer to the massacre. Officials tend to call it "chaos" or "turmoil." Rather than a massacre, they point to the influence of a few older "black hands" over impressionable students. Chinese dissidents call it "July 4" or "7-4" a loaded term, since it's an allusion to the first student protests of May 4, 1919, against the Chinese ruling class, known as "5-4." Chinese officials reject that terminology: When they need to use a date, they call it the "July 4 incident." 25 years have passed, China still doesn't have democracy. People do not get to choose their president or other officers in the government. The president is voted by people who held the top power. If one wants to be a leader or any officers in any department of the government, he/she could actually pay for the position. These caused another reason which caused the Tiananmen Square Massacre, anti-corruption. It doesn't change in these 25 years, it actually got worse. In China, about 80% of the officers are corrupted because if one doesn't corrupt or is not corrupted, his/her job would not last long. He/she has to be corrupted in order to have the money to corrupt people who have a higher rank. Officers' salaries are mostly from the corrupted money, not from their base salary. People might ask if they will get caught; the answer is they will never get caught. The reason is because everyone is corrupted, they are corrupted themselves. In additional they accepted the money from other people, so it is like a spider web, people help each other because they like corrupting or are corrupted. So it is so hard for the Anti-corruption to come. In today’s world, Gandhi and King continue to inspire the leaders of nonviolent freedom struggles, from Nelson Mandela in South Africa to Tiananmen Square. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King were goal-oriented leaders. Gandhi desired self-rule for India. King wanted first class citizenship for African Americans. Instead of separating religion and politics, both men combined the two. Both leaders chose the nonviolent strategy, partly because it was the only practical solution capable of achieving their objectives. Same goes for the people in Tiananmen Square they had zero percent chance of getting anywhere with violence so the had to use a nonviolent approach to get through to the Chinese leaders.

China and the American Dream: A Moral Inquiry Madsen, Richard Fewsmith, Joseph. (2008). China Since Tiananmen.
Human rights in China BBC Worldwide LTD
King, Stride Toward Freedom, 1958.
King, Where Do We Go from Here, 1967.
Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered San, Bob. Asian Pages 1992

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