China Orders 10,000 Cavity Searches in One Day — On Pigeons
To celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 10,000 doves were to released as a grand symbol of peace in the country. On one condition.
The birds were to undergo full cavity searches prior to the event.
You read that right: Chinese officials, nervous about possible attacks, had workers examine the wings, feathers and anal cavities of each and every one of the doves, in search of "suspicious materials." No word on what those materials might be.
Reports on the body searches drew a variety of reactions from readers, including sarcasm and derision.
Many of those reports were then taken down, but a report in the Jinghua Times, as well as a tweet from People's Daily reading, "10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed," are still visible.
Independent columnist Zhang Ping, in an editorial written under his pen name, Changping, sees the unusual measures as symbolic:
The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons. 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.