Story Archive

Unfree Birds

To celebrate the 65th anniversary of its founding, the government of the People’s Republic of China decided to release 10,000 pigeons — but not before they went through security. “They could carry something on their legs, under a wing, or in their anus,” said “Mr Yang” of the China Pigeon Net web site. “If they carried out security checks they would find them, just like on a person when they get on an airplane.” So security screeners checked the 10,000 birds’ feathers, legs, and rectums in preparation for their role in the National Day celebration at Tienanmen Square. “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,” wrote newspaper columnist Zhang Ping, who found the pigeons’ lot representative of that of Chinese citizens. (AC/London Independent, New York Times) ...The Chinese pigeon: the official bird of air travelers everywhere.
Original Publication Date: 05 October 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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