19 March 2008

What to do with the Tibetan question?

Monks and lay people planned a series of marches in and around Tibet this month. These were promptly met by security forces in China and India. China is, as usual, cracking down brutally. Time for a closer examination of the issue. Full essay.


yuen said...

>Tibetans to communicate secretly and organise something as bold as this

surely you exaggerate? some monks started a street demo, and got suppressed, so other tibetans took out their anger and economic grievance on han chinese shops and Bank of China; not much organization needed, not that bold either, just rash and emotional

the bargaining chip both Tibetans and Taiwanese hoped to exploit, the 2008 Olympics causing the Chinese reluctance to generate negative publicity, is a very limited one; if it actually came down to it (and I dont think it would), China would accept the cancellation of the games than to give way - the same hardline it followed, successfully, in 1989

the military suppression of Lhasa demos has all but ensured that Dalai Lama will die in exile - despite his statement that he is in favour of the Beijing Olympics, his supposed followers (like the independence advocates in Taiwan) hoped that the Chinese government would be reluctant to generate negative publicity before the games and there is a time window for generating international pressure on China - even Mia Farrow had the idea, and was demanding that China does something obscurely related to Dalfor in Africa - to China, Dalai is either playing a double game, or has lost control of his followers; either way, there is no incentive to be accommodating

Dalai, prefers to find an accommodation with Beijing in the hope of being alowed to return to Tibet for his final days; this, in addition to the logistic difficult of getting overseas support to Tibet for its independence/autonomy/religiou­s freedom movements, deter the formation of an effective mass movement

Tibetans should remember their fatal weakness: their government in exile is not based on democratical principles, but led by a living buddha proclaimed by senior monks when he was still a child; their system might be exotic and eyecatching, and thir leader an international celebrity admired by Richard Gere and Mia Farrow, among others, but they are not easy to take seriously as an alternative system to communit autocracy; this, in addition to the physical difficulty of providing support to Tibetan independence movements in Tibet, makes it very hard to make significant progress, and so far political and religious demonstrations have always quickly degenerated into mob riots

some like to recall the breakup of soviet union, but there is an essential difference between Russia and China: the number of Han chinese overwhelms the minorities; it not only means China can, and indeed has, sinified Xinjiang and Tibet cities, it also meant the Han chinese overseas, in addition to starting the post 1989 economic opening of China through their investments, also overwhelm the Tibetans overseas, thus drowning out the lobbying effort of Dalai and his followers; even the overseas Taiwanese, whose political interest might lie in supporting Tibetans, fail to do so in any significant way because of their ethnic difference

natasha said...

this article is full of red herrings posing as something learned. don't dispute that much of what you say is true. But at the end of the day, Beijing would love to have the world sit on its hands, as you seem to be recommending, so that they can continue the murder and the cultural debasement of their seized territory. to me, this stank of apologetics. whether the Tibetans would be any more democratic without Chinese rule is completely irrelevant. and weren't these exactly the sort of arguments put forward by colonial rulers in this part of the world (and no doubt elsewhere) to justify ongoing colonial rule...???

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what Tibetans want? Despite so many years of Chinese annexation, why is there still the term "Tibetan"?

Anonymous said...

Even if they weren't so democratic originally, they wouldn't have had to endure the cultural revolution and the great leap forward if they hadn't been forced to live under a much more idiotic system under china.

A little bird atop the canopy said...

On the Tibet issue, Michael Parenti has an article which one may consider reading for reference.

The article shows why the Tibetan question may contain far more dimensions than the images we see on television today.

Friendly Feudalism - The Tibet Myth

YB's Fight against Stupidity said...

[From China]. I agree with you on the larger point that greater freedom must be allowed in all parts China, Tibet included. But it remains explained what greater freedom really entails. People from outside China, for various reasons, rebuke the Chinese government for suppressing freedom in China. However, for my 25 years living in China, I did not feel oppressed in any way. It baffles me therefore that Western press is constantly reminding me of my "oppressed" life in China. My aunt, being a Christian could go about doing Christian things as she likes. Again, I fail to understand the accusations that China is persecuting religious people. All the unjustified animosity towards China that the international media indulges in just hardens my resolve that communism must stay, for lack of a better countering ideology to the hypocritical West. And I am not even a fan of communism.

People speak of Han Chinese diluting "Tibetan culture", which in my opinion is a hypocritical and stupid argument. The West, for example, did not think it wrong to invade the rest of the world and in the process imposing their religion, language and culture on the natives. Why we have black-skinned Africans and yellow-skinned Asians worshipping a white man as their God is a testament of this long process of cultural assimilation.

China, in comparison, has never been actively involved in assimilating another people into its linguistic, religious or political framework. Yet, we are singled out for diluting the 'Tibetan culture'.
For those advancing this argument, few are even well read enough to know that the so-called "Tibetan Culture" is characterized by slavery and theocracy.

I doubt the rioting is a coincidence as some people are making it out to be. I cringe at some Western report that describes the violence instigated by Tibetan monks as "demonstrations" or "protests" rather than the bloody violence that it really is. Western bias against China has never been subtle.

There is every possibility that this whole thing is master-minded by anti-China Westerners. Tibetans are unfortunately a gullible lot, allowing themselves to be used by the West for the political objective of the latter. And this political objective has as its core, to demonize and pressurize China until the country implodes like the Soviet Union.

It is a dark scheme that unfortunately will not succeed. Western bias against Chinese government is ironically doing itself a disservice as ordinary Chinese nationals like me will staunchly support our government when we feel that Western powers are tying to sabotage China's internal affairs.

Anonymous said...

A nations require FORCE to help maintain its status quo; if not, many countries would have broken away.

We do not have to look too far.. Indonesians would have broken away into many states, Acheh, Philippines, South Thailand, Myanmar, North Ireland and etc.. Even in Hawaii you will find independent movement....

So, its just a power play. If China has the ability to put down the riots of Tibet, it will continue to be part of China; if not, it will breakaway. As simple as that.

Let no one try to ride on a moral high horse.... at least not George Bush...

karel321@yahoo.com said...

the past week i read several editorials about the situation in tibet, written by authors with clearly chinese names. in all of these, the massive emigration of han chinese to tibet, was bearly mentioned, let alone discussed ... amazing ... isn't it ...

to "YB's Fight against Stupidity" if in those past 25 years you've been living in china, you would have known liberty, you'd be better informed ...

Anonymous said...

YB's Fight Against Stupidity said "China, in comparison, has never been actively involved in assimilating another people into its linguistic, religious or political framework."

That is not true at all. Just take a trip to Vietnam and ask them if they have ever been assimilated. China invaded Vietnam in 1979 and 20,000 people died on each side. China has tried to impose its culture and will on the Vietnamese people for a thousand years. Vietnam only cast away the cumbersome Chinese writing system in the early 20th century after having had it imposed for a millenium. China constantly invaded, retreated, invaded retreated. Most Chinese aren't even taught about the 1979 war. More Chinese died in that war than Americans did in Iraq, and the total number is on par with the number of US deaths in the Vietnam War itself. China has a long history of conquering and imposing its will against its neighbors. But you won't learn about that in China.

The posting from China just reeks of nationalistic pride. Just because one person did not experience oppression does not mean that it doesn't occur. This is a logical fallacy, an opinion formed from with within a news vacuum. Similarly, just because in the past the West colonized other countries does not make China's current actions justified. Does he mean that China should somehow have the chance to oppress people too? His hatred of the West, his hatred of white people, his belief that democracy must be "countered" and his feeling that the rest of the world is ganging up on peace-loving China are things routinely taught in China. Their brainwashing is extremely effective. But where is the proof of no repression? In fact, China bans reporters from going to Tibet. Why ban reporters if there is nothing to hide? If the system is so much better than democracy then why hide something? Or is it just because we need to counter the Western free press with a communism-style (but yet somehow not oppressive) one? I think Singapore could learn something from China's national education.

I wouldn't exactly say that the Chinese press is any kinder to the West than vice versa. Chinese often don't seem to realize that Western reporters can write whatever they want, and that it is not government-sanctioned. If he's not happy with what independent newspapers are reporting about China, then banning them is not likely going to help matters. Contrast this to news from China when it comes to news about the West, news about "China's" Taiwan, or ANY negative news from within China. It looks to me as if the problem is coming from within China, and nationalism is being used to drum up hatred of foreigners and the West in order to distract people from problems at home. But that poster was never repressed. A North Korean girl studying in a Singapore junior college told me she was never repressed either. I guess she wasn't one of the starving ones.

Thach Sung said...

When I was a boy in Vietnam, we always learned that China was the

"bon banh truong ba quyen Bac Kinh"
which translates to
"the expansionist, hegemonic, Beijing clique"

Notice how communist regimes always like to talk about other countries like that ("the Dalai clique"). Haha! I feel like both China and Vietnam are effective brainwashers. It took me a long time to recover, and it involved reading a lot of books. When I heard Beijing talk about the Dalai Lama as the "Dalai clique", it made me laugh.

The anonymous above who talked about Vietnam is also me.

yuen said...

just want to piont out chinese invasion of vietnam occurred after vietnam invaded cambodia, to end the pol pot government; on the one hand, you might say vietnam was doing a good deed and china was siding with bad guys; on the other hand, china quickly withdrew its troops after a brief occupation, whereas vietnam set up a puppet government in cambodia though it did not last long

like the case of tibet, judging good guys/bad guys is not simple in such historical conflicts; you could feel sympathy towards small countries fending off large neighbours, but the way vietnam treated cambodia, and tibetan rioterss treated the han people among them, also does not inspire confidence in their good nature

YB's Fight against Stupidity said...

Just some quick responses.

"Just because one person did not experience oppression does not mean that it doesn't occur. This is a logical fallacy, an opinion formed from with within a news vacuum”

I did not generalize my experience to that of every other Chinese national. I was merely saying that my experience of living in China as an ordinary Chinese citizen does not in any way reflect the dire picture the Western press paints of China in their newspapers. While the Western press ferociously portrays China as an oppressive regime, I, as a true blue Chinese national cannot agree with such insinuations. That is all I am saying. You could interpret the connotations in whatever way you wish. But don’t twist it to sound like they come from me.

I concede on the point that China does not allow sufficient latitude in news report. That is an undisputed fact. But two points are worth raising. One is that the spread of the internet is increasingly making it a futile attempt to block any alternative views. The other is that one cannot underestimate the power of individual thinking, even in places where alternative views are not actively promoted. I am largely well informed. At least compared to those who only feed on Western propaganda. Thank you very much.

"Similarly, just because in the past the West colonized other countries does not make China's current actions justified. Does he mean that China should somehow have the chance to oppress people too?"

What do you mean by “China’s current actions”? China’s current actions are to effectively deal with “violent rioting” happening in “its own territory”. You may argue about whether Tibet historically belongs to China but that is not the point here. It is an undisputed fact that Tibet is Chinese territory. And as such, when violence erupts in that part of China, it is the responsibility of China to appease and curb violence. That is what counties do: to maintain order when aberrant behavior occurs in its own territory. What is wrong with that?

“His hatred of the West, his hatred of white people…”
“Hatred” is a strong word. Unless you have facts to back up your claim that I hate the West or the white people, I could potentially sue you for defamation as you are accusing me of racism. Do think before you speak. Otherwise, your opinions will be taken lightly.

"His belief that democracy must be "countered" and his feeling that the rest of the world is ganging up on peace-loving China are things routinely taught in China. Their brainwashing is extremely effective."

What kind of brainwashing are you talking about. If you did not even experience Chinese education, what credentials do you have for you to justify your claim that certain things are taught or not taught in Chinese schools? That we are taught to hate foreigners is a preposterous claim to make. It is your opinion only. Without facts to back it up, it remains to be your opinion, and a lop-sided one at that.

Did I say “democracy” must be countered? I said we need a countering ideology. If you interpret that to mean democracy must be countered, that is your interpretation. Again, you are imposing your interpretation on me, which I find extremely resentful. By Western ideology, I mainly meant the self-righteous and hypocritical Western thinking that its own system is the superior one and thus must be exported to other counties (to free Iraq? Afghanistan?) aggressively. Those who resist this political imposition will be punished in one way or the other. It is never about “implanting the seeds of democracy” in oppressive regimes so that people there will be happy. It is about power, arm-twisting and the obnoxious thinking that my way is better than yours.

It is also hypocritical in that on one hand, America could talk about the beauty of democracy, on the other hand, it does not hesitate to throw democracy out of the window when its own interests are involved. Examples? Look at Saudi Arabia, which by the standard the West is using to judge China, is an atrociously “oppressive regime”. But, but… because Saudi Arabia allows privileged US access to its oil, America has chosen to turn a complete blind eye to human rights violations or whatever oppressive things happening in Saudi Arabia. And Palestine… The people there democratically elected its Hamas government early last year. American reaction: they refused to deal with the “democratically elected” Hamas government and rebuked Hamas for its violent ways. Do we need to talk about the beauty of FREE TRADE and FREE MARKET that the West is hectoring us with and what happened in 2005 Unocal and other deals where American interests are involved? The list goes on and on. The hegemony and hypocrisy the West displays and practices is just sickening.

Well, communism is not perfect. It has its evil aspects. But at least we never sought to impose our political ideals on other people in aggressive and hypocritical ways. And communism itself is changing, just in case people choose to ignore.

That is why I said we need a countering ideology. We already have witnessed how the US could behave so irresponsibly when no other country is able to contain it. It is not a healthy situation. We need a country with a sufficiently different ideology and comparable military and economic might so that the US will think twice before it decides to illegally invade another sovereign nation. I am hoping, as well as many people are, that China will assume this role in the future. Judging by the direction China is heading for, it will evolve into a kind of benign one-party government, not unlike what Singapore is now. It will not be a democratic government by Western standards but it suits/will suit our reality.

You may subserviently bend over and take whatever ideological rubbish the West is trying to forcing onto you and automatically align yourself with Western opinions and biases. The less supine of us, those who have minds and spines, choose to think for ourselves and decide what is best for us.

Thach Sung said...

yuen, I completely agree. I am Vietnamese, but I don't have one iota of nationalistic pride. It's a terrible regime too. Thanks for reminding me that China was a supporter of the Pol Pot regime though. Bad as the Vietnamese regime is (I lived through a famine), they did put an end to the killing fields.

I hope China doesn't turn into a "benign" one party state like Singapore. It's only benign to people who are not in the opposition.

I also noticed that the poster from China threatened to sue me for defamation. A good first step to becoming more like Singapore!

Robin said...

The Tibetans may have often been a Chinese vassal state but that does not justify China's claims to suzerainty over them. That is like saying that Algeria was part of France because for centuries Algeria was under French rule and France considered Algeria a part of France proper. By your logic, colonisation justifies itself.

It's very easy to say you want to separate democracy/human rights and nationalism. But in the case of Tibet, or for that matter most colonised states, the two are inextricably linked. Give them freedom and they will demand greater autonomy/independence. The General Will will demand it. You cannot demand democracy then try to cut out the less savoury parts. That's what the Americans have been doing in the Middle East and look where it has got them.

Also one cannot say that "we should simply use the present as the starting point' and try to wipe out history, another very American affliction. If the woes of the present is directly related to some event in history, then history MUST be taken into account. This is especially if the oppressed side is still suffering the consequences of a particular event in the past. To them, history and present cannot be decoupled. In this case, the Tibetan problem is directly related to China's repression and colonisation since its annexation of Tibet. So historical wrongs must be taken into account when considering ones stand on Tibet.


Anonymous said...

Great summary of events YB! This happens to be a subject that goes right down my road.

To just give you my two cents. I appears the Chinese do not want to recognize the foreign Tibetan resistance movement.

Infact, these are the real trouble makers who have real capacity to damage the PRC in the PR front and not the local Tibetans.

For years, the PRC security services have tried to control and even infiltrate these foreign elements, but they have failed.

I think you should read this article,


It represents two views, the first appears to be a broad analysis, the second is a pin point strategic break down.

I get the feeling the authors are holding back more than they are willing to share, but I am sure it will add value to this discussion.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about western ideas of "democracy" and "freedom" but I do know that it's better to be amongst your own kind. The political systems in China and Singapore aren't perfect by western ideas but we are proud of being Chinese nationals and being Singapreans never mind the so called one party system existing in the latter. What we have is better than most boat people who became pseudo westerners on the charity of their hosts would ever know.

Anonymous said...

The stupid tibetan pawns threw away their last chance at assimilation. The Dalai Lama can kiss his potala palace goodbye and live the rest of his natural life in India.

China appears taken by surprise according to press reports but the fiasco isn't going to happen again in Tibet or anywhere else in China for that matter. They probably were too sanguine about their foes. But it was a lesson learnt the hard way.

The Tibetan thugs do not deserve pity or humane treatment after what they did to innocent civilians. Looting, killing and burning. The Buddha if he were alive would be most upset by this.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you or bringing you out from slavery into the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

anon 1636 said "I do know that it's better to be amongst your own kind".

What the heck is that supposed to mean? Do you mean that the Chinese shouldn't emigrate? Do you mean that they shouldn't intermarry with Westerners? I'm just trying to understand how your race has any bearing on the matter.

anon 1636 also said that we are "proud of being Chinese nationals and being Singaporeans". Why? You're proud of being born somewhere instead of somewhere else? You had no control over where you were born, so why are you proud of it? It's like saying, "I'm proud of being born short, and it's better to stick to my own kind." I think it's better to be proud of one's own achievements, not one's race or nation. I also think it's very dangerous. Can't we speak as human beings, not as Chinese vs. anyone else?

Also, why are you "better off" than the boat people that became Westerners? It would seem that they are much better off in their new homes than their old. And since you admit that you "don't know" much about Western democracy, why not try to learn something before suggesting that we all stick "to our own kind"?

So basically, I disagree with every word in anon 1636's comment.

yuen said...

>biting the hand that feeds you or bringing you out from slavery

a rather amusing way to present the position of china, almost a caricature - it has been long out of date

it is true that when china first asserted control over tibet almost 60 years ago, many tibetans saw china as force of anti colonialism and modernization; religion and westernization were both out of fashion then; however, it was not long before the assertion of tibetan identity became the more powerful consideration, and dalai lama become reverred again (much more than he was before he escaped into exile)

however, today the majority of tibetans are not motivated by religious beliefs, but by the economic and power inferiorities of tibetans; while china is entitled to maintain law and order in tibet, it need to address the ethnic and social grievances; otherwise, all its self-proclaimed benevalence would be for nothing

Anonymous said...

the Chinese do not want to recognize the foreign Tibetan resistance movement?

Chinese couldn't. Now China PM had threw the ball at them that Dalai is behind the riots and yet China is prepared to talk to him under 'one china' condition. Lets see how Dalai and his clique handle this chance.

the real trouble makers are only Dalai?

China knows the read trouble makers are not controlled by Dalai. They are groups more than Dalai can handle who obviously has many arrogant westerners sympathizers.
How PRC security services can control and even infiltrate these foreign elements?

Too many western trained/educated/influences foreign elements for PRC security to be focus and beyond their infiltration and worse too many cooks trying to boil the soups. Even China is forced to drink the soup, the Chinese wouldn't.

Let watch the games and see whether Dalai and foreign elements are willing to sacrifice more tibetans and chinese.

yuen said...

I see a real dilemma for both dalai lama and his followers; they need each other, yet they cannot work together

dalai wants a deal with beijing so that he can live his final years back home, but his followers make such a deal impossible

the followers need him to bring attention, even admiration, to their cause, but having a living buddha as leader is contrary to democracy; it even makes the other side sound politically more up to date

so what is they way out? well you wont get much useful advice from britain or india, both with a suspect past in their relation to tibet; not from taiwan, which has messed up its own independence dream through corruption; not from usa, because it is too busy in the middle east

yuen said...

many years ago Ian Buruma, who writes mainly on travel, commented on singapore, including a debate with Kishore Mahbubani concerning the book "Can Asians Think"; he is pessimistic about tibet's survival, a pessimism I share

The last of the Tibetans LATimes

Their culture may survive only outside of China's sweeping modernization.
By Ian Buruma
March 26, 2008
ARE THE TIBETANS doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be reduced to being little more than a tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was once a great culture? In Tibet

itself, that sad fate is looking more and more likely. And the Olympic year is already soured by the way the Chinese government is trying to suppress resistance to just that fate.

The Chinese have much to answer for, but the end of Tibet is not just a matter of semi-colonial oppression. It is often forgotten that many Tibetans, especially educated people in the larger towns, were so keen to modernize their society in the mid-20th century that they saw the Chinese communists as allies against rule by monks and serf-owning landlords. The Dalai Lama himself, in the early 1950s, was impressed by Chinese reforms and wrote poems praising Chairman Mao.

Alas, instead of reforming Tibetan society and culture, the Chinese communists wrecked it. Religion was crushed in the name of Marxist secularism. Monasteries and temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (often with the help of Tibetan Red Guards). Nomads were forced into concrete settlements. Tibetan arts were frozen into folkloric emblems of an officially promoted "minority culture." And the Dalai Lama and his entourage were forced to flee to India.

Such destruction was not peculiar to Tibet. The wrecking of tradition and forced cultural regimentation took place everywhere in China. In some respects, the Tibetans were treated less ruthlessly than the majority of Chinese. Nor was the challenge to Tibetan uniqueness only typical of the communists. Gen. Chiang Kai-shek declared in 1946 that the Tibetans were Chinese, and he certainly would not have granted them independence if his Nationalists had won the civil war.

If Tibetan Buddhism has been severely damaged, Chinese communism has barely survived the ravages of the 20th century. But capitalist development in China has been even more devastating to Tibetan tradition. Like many modern imperialist powers, China claims legitimacy for its policies by pointing to the material benefits. After decades of destruction and neglect, Tibet has benefited from enormous amounts of Chinese money and energy to modernize the country. The Tibetans cannot complain that they have been left behind in China's transformation from a Third World wreck to a marvel of supercharged urban development.

Along the way, regional identity, cultural diversity and traditional arts and customs have been buried under concrete, steel and glass all over China. And all Chinese are gasping in the same polluted air. But at least the Han Chinese can feel pride in the revival of their national fortunes. They can bask in the resurgence of Chinese power and material wealth. The Tibetans can share this feeling only to the extent that they become fully Chinese. If not, they can only lament the loss of their identity.

The Chinese have exported their version of modern development to Tibet, not just in terms of architecture and infrastructure but people, wave after wave of them: businessmen from Sichuan, prostitutes from Hunan, technocrats from Beijing, party officials from Shanghai, shopkeepers from Yunnan. The majority of the people living today in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, are no longer Tibetan. Most people in rural areas are Tibetan, but their way of life is not likely to survive Chinese modernization any more than the ways of the Apaches did in the United States.

Because Chinese is the language of instruction at Tibetan schools and universities, anyone who wishes to be more than a poor peasant, beggar or seller of trinkets has to conform to it -- that is to say, in a crucial way, become Chinese. Even the Tibetan intellectuals who want to study their own classical literature have to do so in Chinese translation. Meanwhile, Chinese and other foreign tourists dress up in traditional Tibetan dress to have souvenir pictures taken in front of the Dalai Lama's old palace.

Religion is tolerated now in Tibet, as it is in the rest of China, but under strictly controlled conditions. Monasteries and temples are exploited as tourist attractions, and government agents try to make sure that the monks stay in line. As we know from recent events, they have not yet been entirely successful. The resentment among Tibetans runs too deep. In the last few weeks, that resentment boiled over, first in the monasteries, and then in the streets, against the Han Chinese migrants, who are the agents and main beneficiaries of rapid modernization.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said that he does not seek independence for his homeland. However, as long as Tibet remains part of China, it is hard to see how its distinct cultural identity can survive. The human and material forces against it are overwhelming. There are too few Tibetans and too many Chinese.

Outside Tibet, however, it is a different story. If the Chinese are responsible for extinguishing the old way of life inside Tibet, they may have been unintentionally responsible for keeping it alive outside. By forcing the Dalai Lama into exile, they have ensured the establishment of a highly traditional Tibetan diaspora society that might well survive at a level that would have been unlikely even in an independent Tibet. Diaspora cultures thrive on nostalgic dreams of return. Traditions are jealously guarded, like precious heirlooms, to be passed on as long as those dreams persist. Who is to say that they will never come true? The Jews managed to hang on to theirs for more than 2,000 years.

Ian Buruma is a contributing editor to Opinion. He is a professor of human rights at Bard College, and his most recent book is "Murder in Amsterdam: The Killing of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance."

AsIseeIt said...

The Olympic Torch Relay is supposed to be a serious and solemn affair but pro-Tibetan protestors have managed to make a joke out of it.

All sorts of bizarre and comical situations could arise from the protests. Just imagine what could have happened if a protestor with a big tummy stood in the way of a torch-bearer on a wheelchair in Paris, banging his tummy repeatedly left and right on her face as depicted below:

My left is broken, my center is crumbling, my right wavers. Situation excellent. I attack!
- Ferdinand Foch

My left cheek gets a knock, my nose is swelling, my right cheek gets another bump. Situation unbearable in Paris. I strike back at the tummy with the Olympic Flame!

- A bizarre but possible scenario in the pandemonium of the infamous Paris Olympic Torch Relay