In 1989, the people of China were fighting the injustice of their communist government in Tiananmen Square. Their rights were being oppressed and they wanted the ability to run their own lives. The students at the protest had elected representatives to speak up against their communist leader. They wanted China to accept the reforms they protested for, but more than that they wanted the rest of the world to realize that China’s communist government was ruining the country. The protestors of Tiananmen Square used reasonable means of protesting to gain the rights that they did not have because they were never trying to harm anybody in their process of achieving freedom. To gain these liberties, the people protested together at Tiananmen Square, wrote petitions against the government, and went on a hunger strike.
The first way that the college students of China protested against their government was by gathering at Tiananmen Square. First, in April 17, 10,000 students had met up at Tiananmen Square to protest. This shows that so many people of China wanted a change in government and that the government was ruling unfairly. They were not trying to harm anybody by gathering together. They were only there to mourn for the death of Hu Yaobang and to protest for a democracy. Also, these students began to sing hymns that had lyrics that fought communism and promoted democracy. This portrays the fact that the people were so propelled by their beliefs of a need for democracy that they were compelled to sing out their feelings for a new government. Once again, they were not trying to kill anybody with their singing. They were only trying to let out their emotions to the world to let others know what they desired. Finally, the students carved out a giant statue that stood for liberty and democracy. This reinforces the fact that they wanted a democratic government because they were trying to mimic the Statue of Liberty to get the rest of the world and the US to notice their plea for a fair government. In the end, the government did notice their protesting, but the people of China did not gain anything out of it. They were only massacred later on for their insolence and betrayal against the government even though the students had not tried to harm anybody.
The second thing the students did was to make petitions and posters to protest against the government. Petitions are a moral way to call against the injustice of a nation because nobody is harmed in doing so. First, on the first day of the gathering at Tiananmen Square, the students immediately began to make a petition of demands that they wanted. It was a way to get the world to realize that so many people wanted a change in government. Second, the students began making posters and banners that called for freedom, democracy, and enlightenment. They hung them up on the imitation Statue of Liberty to attract the attention of the government. They also wanted the people of the world to see those banners and realize how badly the people of China wanted a democracy. Finally, on May 9, the students petitioned for the freedom to report the protest to the world. They wanted to tell everybody that the government was oppressing them. None these tactics worked because they angered the government and ended up being slaughtered in their own protesting grounds.
Finally, the students that were protesting went on a hunger strike. On May 13, the students began a hunger strike in order to get the government to meet with them. In a sense this was an unmoral tactic to force the government to notice them because they were risking human lives, but the end justifies the means and their reason for a hunger strike was moral. Then on May 14, the students were allowed to talk to the government leaders because the hunger strike convinced the government to talk with them. Unfortunately the negotiations failed and the students were left with nothing. They had a chance to make changes to China, but a stubborn Communist Government prevented them from doing so. Finally in May 18, Li Peng tried to stop the students from their strike, but the students won’t stop their protesting and the government prepared for martial law. The length of the hunger strike most definitely forced the government to take extreme means to stop the strike. After all, if the government let the people die from starving themselves, the international press would print bad reviews on China to the rest of the world. This means that the people of China brought the massacre upon themselves when they tried to protest by the means of a hunger strike.
The student protestors at Tiananmen Square were never trying to harm the government from the start because that would not have solved anything and that means that the protestors’ tactics of fighting for their cause was just. All three of their tactics to protest against their government were moral, but going on a hunger strike brought about their protest’s failure. The government could not afford the deaths of human lives that they would not be able to cover up later, so their final resort was to use martial law. Although the protestors used just ways of fighting, the government they were fighting only did whatever it could to stop the protesting.
Chinoy, Mike. “Two Decades in the Heart of the Dragon: China Live.”
This book told me that on the students sang hymns to try to protest for a democracy (185), and that on April 17 the students began their petition of demands for the changes they wanted in their government (188). Also it told me that on May 9, the students tried to petition for the freedom to report about the protest to the world. And finally, it said that the students made posters and banners that had freedom, democracy, and enlightenment written on them (190).
Peng, Li. “Li Peng and Others Meet Representatives of the Fasting Students.” Tiananmen Chronology. 18 Dec. 2008 .
This site told me about all 3 of the specific examples on the tactic of hunger strike. It said that the people began a protest on May 13 to try to meet the government, that on May 14 the students talked to the government, and on May 18, Li Peng tried to stop the students’ hunger strike.
“‘History written in Blood.’” Hong Kong Alliance. 18 Dec. 2008 .
This site told me that on April 17, ten thousand students had gathered at Tiananmen Square to protest and that by April 18, there were tens of thousands of students there. Also, it told me that they had made an imitation Statue of Liberty to protest against their communist government.