Pigeons get butt check ahead of National Day celebration

Pigeons get butt check ahead of National Day celebration

No, the headline is not a mistake. People's Daily newspaper on the mainland was proud to announce that the 10,000 pigeons that were released in yesterday's National Day ceremony had each had its feather and butt checked for "dangerous materials".

The 10,000 pigeons released in a ceremony yesterday for China’s National Day underwent unusual security checks, each having its feathers and anus examined for dangerous materials, media reports said.

The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing’s symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the National Day holiday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China

Beijing domestic security police officer Guo Chunwei was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon to ensure they were “not carrying suspicious material.” The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said. 

A similar report appeared in the Beijing News, and the People’s Daily tweeted about it in English: “10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed.” 

The reports — which did not say what the suspicious materials might be — drew funny and scornful responses from some mainlanders, and many news sites, including the Beijing News website, later deleted the reports. However, the Jinghua Times report and the People’s Daily tweet were still visible as of midday yesterday. 

Mainlanders responded with sarcasm because they see in the pigeon body searches their own plight in what they consider an oppressive society with tight surveillance, censorship and judicial injustice, independent columnist Zhang Ping said in an editorial that was circulated on social media under his pen name, Changping.

“The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons,” Zhang wrote. “They have to go through the pains and insults of the rude anal check and yet they must appear peaceful and happy on the screen of the state broadcaster.”

The notched-up security measures reflect inicreased concern about violence following a string of attacks blamed on separatist militants from the ethnic Uygur Muslim minority, as well as bus explosions and random slashing attacks attributed to disgruntled individuals.

Beijing authorities also are sending police helicopters to monitor highway checkpoints, ring roads within the city, major intersections and areas with heavy traffic, including popular tourist spots such as the Great Wall and the SummerPalace, the Beijing News said. Additionally, the capital mobilised 850,000 citizen volunteers to help keep a lookout in the city of about 20 million people, the newspaper said. 



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