Using Ancient Chinese Wisdom to Understand When to Protest

People in Hong Kong taking to the streets in protest of Chinese Communist Party rule. The slogan on one of the huge banners reads, “Tuidang,” which literally means “Withdraw from the (Chinese Communist) Party.” (Image courtesy of NTD)
People in Hong Kong taking to the streets in protest of Chinese Communist Party rule. The slogan on one of the huge banners reads, “Tuidang,” which literally means “Withdraw from the (Chinese Communist) Party.” (Image courtesy of NTD)

People have a variety of reasons to protest. Both at home and abroad recently many have been staging peaceful protest against what they  believe are injustices.  A common understanding among humans is the right to be heard.

The right to stand up and speak for what you believe in is something in the United States that’s protected legally under the First Amendment. It’s also mentioned in the International Bill of Rights. It’s also something Confucious mentioned in his teachings:

To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.

No matter how frustrating or disheartening a situation may seem the best way to deal with that situation is with kindness and compassion. As Lao Zi said:

Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.

Especially under the most dire of circumstances we as people must not resort to violence to express our grief or dissatisfaction. Like famous Chinese General Sun Tzu wrote:

‘The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

If we resort to violence what are we in that moment? Good or bad? Therefore, it doesn’t matter much if we are right or wrong if what we are expressing is bad, we won’t change a thing.

 

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