Nobody has any ethical obligation to refrain from defending themselves against violence, regardless of whether that violence comes from a state. Sometimes, you can get better results with non-violent resistance, but that is not universal, so whether to do that is very much a question of tactics.
The protesters did not instigate thile current bout of violence, and their comparative restraint is a tactical decision. Ethically, they would be more than justified in killing any member of the Chinese security services, the apparatchiks who control them, or quislings like Carrie Lam in their local government.
This. MLK and his inner circle traveled with guns, to defend themselves from mobs if the need arose.
Well, the CPC has already given more than I ever expected them to do, so maybe they’re more anxious to avoid a bloodbath than I thought. I’m praying that’s the case.
I’ll admit that my thinking is probably overly affected by my memories of Tienanmen Square. I’m old enough to remember thinking very distinctly that the protesters in Tienanmen Square were safe because the government could not simply slaughter so many of their best and their brightest simply for demanding what were very basic freedoms.
And yes, China took a tremendous hit. Who knows where China would be know if they hadn’t destroyed so many of their finest minds (they followed the massacre and arrests by essentially economically exiling the entire university cohort for the next 20 years). But that was a price the CPC was willing to pay to prevent the Chinese from obtaining even basic freedoms.
Anyway, I don’t have more to add than my fear and my mistrust of the CPC, so I’ll leave it here.
At the risk of 'splaining (because there are some white moderates that need to hear it):
The whole “MLK was a pacifist!” meme is by those who want to tone-police resistance.
King and John Lewis both expected violence and were prepared for violence. “Good Trouble” wasn’t about being well behaved, it was about going out and defying authority – even to the point of breaking the law – not for your own gain, but to highlight injustice and bring justice and basic rights to those who do not have them. Getting in trouble for the greater good, not about being “good” simply for causing inconvenience.
The “they were good pacifists” narratives are from the white moderates so aptly decried as more dangerous than the outright racists, and the racists push that narrative so they can limit effective opposition and paint those willing to fight them as “terrorists”.
It’s also a way of erasing their humanity – turning complex, real people into two-dimensional models of the “right” kind of protester, one might say. Sanitized into something white people can be comfortable with.
If you push that narrative, it says more about you than it does about them.
There was a short story by Harry Turtledove about an alternate history in which India was invaded by the Nazis during the time of Gandhi.
Gandhi attempted to use non-violent resistance with the Nazis.
It didn’t end well.
I think non-violence can be a great protest method.
But unfortunately it is predicated in large part upon the protested or their agents attempting to be decent human beings. That they care about the PR nightmare of having armed police or military beating up unarmed, unresisting protestors.
And I can’t help but think that this year is the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Perhaps I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall that some of the protestors tried to use non-violence.