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10,000 Pigeons, Anal Security Checks, and Twitter: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

According to the English-language Twitter account of China’s People’s Daily, 10,000 pigeons will go through an "anal security check for suspicious objects" ahead of Wednesday’s National Day celebrations. Consider this one lost in translation, but give it up for Beijing’s propagandists, who got it really wrong in a really great way.  10,000 pigeons go through ...

Photo by MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

According to the English-language Twitter account of China’s People’s Daily, 10,000 pigeons will go through an "anal security check for suspicious objects" ahead of Wednesday’s National Day celebrations. Consider this one lost in translation, but give it up for Beijing’s propagandists, who got it really wrong in a really great way. 

This year’s National Day is fraught with more peril than usual. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Hong Kong’s streets to demand the right to elect their own chief executive — free of Beijing’s interference. With protesters hunkering down, Hong Kong canceled its annual fireworks. Wednesday is when China — the country protesters are demonstrating against — celebrates its founding.

Incredibly, this isn’t the first time pigeons have featured in the run-up to National Day. In 2009, Chinese authorities ordered residents of Beijing to keep their pigeons caged so as to not disturb the celebrations. Perhaps China is worrying once more about whether Hong Kong sympathizers among its pigeon population will disrupt National Day.

One can’t help but think, however, that pigeons would have an awfully hard time carrying umbrellas.     

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @EliasGroll

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