Each week, ICNC features 5-10 news stories from around the world related to nonviolent conflict. These stories are shared with you via our website, our News Digest, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Featured news stories are ones that can stimulate conversation about the phenomena of nonviolent conflict and civil resistance. ICNC does not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed in these articles or any comments left by visitors to our site. Featured articles remain posted for 30 days, after which time they can be found by searching our nonviolent conflict news database.
Chris Buckley and Alan Wong, NY Times, November 15, 2014
A group of pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong were prevented Saturday from boarding a flight to Beijing, where they had hoped to lobby the Chinese government to heed their calls for free elections. The airline told the activists that the Chinese authorities had rescinded their entry permits, which Hong Kong residents need to go to mainland China. “I’m mystified why a great country like China would dread students entering to request a dialogue with central officials,” said one student leader. “Public opinion in Hong Kong is clear, but the government has repeatedly avoided facing up to it.”
Jun Yan, DW, November 14, 2014
PEN International observes the Day of the Imprisoned Writer every year on November 15. This year, the organization is focusing on DW correspondent Gao Yu, who is imprisoned in China. Gao Yu is renowned for not mincing words when criticizing the Chinese leadership. Her third time in prison began on April 24. After her latest arrest, she was paraded in Chinese television without having been convicted first. She was seen to regret in front of cameras that her behavior had "damaged national interest," but she later retracted her confession, saying that the police had used her son to pressure her into making the confession.
Meena Menon, The Hindu, November 8, 2014
Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International, is puzzled at how the government came to freeze the organization’s bank accounts in India. Naidoo said that claiming that Greenpeace is acting for foreign interests because it was accepting foreign funds was as absurd as saying that the Indian government was acting on a foreign agenda because it was getting aid from abroad. “We don’t take a single paisa from government or business – all our resources are raised through individual citizens,” he said.
Mary Elizabeth King, National Catholic Reporter, November 12, 2014
In the decades since the death of Mohandas Gandhi and his student and successor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the understanding of how civil resistance can be effective has expanded. The social science of nonviolent action has deepened, showing that while violent campaigns have achieved their goals in about 1/4 of all cases, civil resistance has succeeded in more than half of all such campaigns. End the cooperation of those who are oppressed, and oppressors cannot last, as Gandhi had discerned by 1905. The ways to do this multiply with every new struggle, and the knowledge of how to apply nonviolent tactics is expanding exponentially.
NY Times, November 12, 2014
President Xi Jinping, in a news conference, made comments warning foreign news organizations that their troubles are self-inflicted; they are being penalized for news coverage and could correct the problem by changing that approach. The New York Times responded to these remarks: “The Times has no intention of altering its coverage to meet the demands of any government — be it that of China, the US or any other nation. Nor would any credible news organization…Mr. Xi claimed that China protects the rights of media organizations. Demanding that journalists tailor their coverage to suit the state only protects the powerful and those with something to hide.”
Ian Rowen, The Guardian, November 12, 2014
More cosmopolitan, inclusive, and networked than previous social movements in the region, the umbrella revolution is arguably “the first ever genuine movement for freedom on Chinese soil,” as a visitor from Beijing put it to me last week. Although the numbers of people protesting in Hong Kong may fluctuate or dwindle, the occupation is still unlikely to be cleared without force or a significant concession from the government. The occupation cannot last forever. But neither can a regime ignore the demands of a population that has demonstrated its capability to carry out a sustained campaign of civil disobedience.
Francisco Goldman, The New Yorker, November 12, 2014
On Friday, Mexico’s Attorney General announced that the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School had been executed and incinerated in a municipal dump. He ended by saying, “Ya me cansé,” — “I’m finally tired” or, more colloquially, “I’ve had enough.” By the end of that night, #YaMeCansé was spreading on social networks, summoning people to a march in Mexico City: #YaMeCanséDelMiedo - I’ve had enough fear. All over the country, municipal police forces are corrupted by organized crime or forced into “comply or die” subservience. That reality leaves communities exposed to organized crime. According to Human Rights Watch, the state police and federal army units in Iguala had failed to protect the students, despite the fact that activists had alerted the state government.
Marko Kovacevic, MUNPlanet, November 14, 2014
“It might be correct to say that civil resistance is used by the side that is seemingly weaker than the opponent it challenges. But this weakness is defined purely in a material sense. However, the power of civil resistance does not come from material resources as much as it comes from people’s participation, the skills of those who join the movement and their tactical and strategic ingenuity. This is represented by a shrewd understanding of the battlefield that, in turn, informs the choice and deployment of appropriate methods of nonviolent action.”
Laia Gordi, openDemocracy, November 13, 2014
Catalonia experienced a massive act of civil disobedience on Sunday when around 2.3 million people peacefully, happily and orderly queued and voted in a symbolic referendum, declared illegal by the Spanish government. This “participatory process” challenged the power relationship between the people and the state. The financial crisis, which has impoverished the accommodated middle class and hit Spanish youth particularly hard, has changed the independence movement's dynamic. Today, the parents and grandparents of the ‘no future’ generation have rallied behind what was once a movement of rebellious youth.
Arthur Nelsen, The Guardian, November 3, 2014
Anti-tar sands campaigns, predominantly in the US and Canada, have cost the industry a staggering $17bn in lost revenues, and helped to push it onto the backfoot, according to a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), and Oil Change International. “Industry officials never anticipated the level and intensity of public opposition to their massive build-out plans,” said Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International’s executive director. Protests by environmentalists have been swollen by the presence of first nations communities, angry at the environmental damage they fear the industry could wreak on their ancestral lands.