Friday, November 5, 2010

The long and hard fight

No dictator is willing to voluntarily give up his throne. No dominating party, especially the one that enjoys unprecedentedly monopoly of power for the last 60 years, is going to relinquish its power without a fight.  This means using secret police, harassing and jailing people. This may mean lying blatantly on major news media and to the world. This may mean suppressing any information that challenges its rule.  If we have any hope for the Chinese communist party to automatically change and reform itself, we are facing a cold reality.

Today when we observe the outrageous house arrest of Liu Xiaobo's wife -- Liu Xia, when we hear about the arbitrary detention of dissidents who merely have dinner to celebrate Liu's awards, we are face to face with that cold reality. The communist government is fighting to the teeth to preserve the status quo. This suggest that road to a free China is going to be a long and hard struggle.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle." After he was put in Birmingham jail for his protest, he wrote the famous Letter from Birmingham Jail to answer the conservative and "well-meaning" people's accusation that he was not patient enough to wait. King said, "Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was 'well timed' in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"

Answering the question: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" King said, "You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension.' I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

He pointed out "We have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily."

Change does not come automatically. It comes through people's struggle and tireless push. As King said, "Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

As we are walking toward the dawn of a democratic China, we must be prepared for a long and hard fight.

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