I’m Shen tong
In honoring Dr King’s legacy, I’m standing here, as a Chinese exile from Tiananmen, and as an Occupier, to pledge again my commitment to nonviolence, to civil disobedience, to social and economic justice.
Back in 1989, we were inspired by non-violent principle and carried out the largest scale civil disobedience with over 100 million direct participation in street protests.
Our struggle ended with bloodshed, and I narrowly escaped the Tiananmen Massacre. But we have continued our struggle non-violently.
I want to honor Dr. King’s legacy today by honoring my colleagues in that struggle
Ai Weiwei – the outspoken dissident artist
Liu Xiaobo – the Nobel Peace laureate of 2010 who is still in jial along w hundreds of thousands of dissidents.
While in exile, here in America – the land of the free, I’ve learnt the precious but fragile nature of democracy. Democracy has journeyed from,
1 propertied white man 1 vote,
to 1 white man 1 vote
to 1 white person 1 vote
and with Civil Rights movement comes 1 person, 1 vote.
Now we are trending to $1m, 1 vote.
How do we revive our democracy?
I say: Step up and occupy
I say: non violent civil disobedience.
22 years ago today, I had the special privilege soon after my exile to speak the following words in the Church Dr. King once worked:
… the principle of non-violence…is the only way for China and for the world if we are to survive. Our various communities struggle to achieve justice and equality, freedom and human right. We must join our hands and stand as one. As Dr. King once said, “ Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
We must learn from each other to find that crystal way which will lead to the crystal goal. And together, as one movement, we will be able to look at the tyrants and oppressors of history and repeat Dr. King’s words, “ We have matched your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We have matched your physical force with soul force. WE ARE FREE.