Officials Search Thousands of Pigeons’ Butts for Bombs

Today in weird China news, Chinese officials this week searched the anuses of 10,000 pigeons in search of bombs, amid government fears of an impending terrorist attack.

The pigeons were intended to be released for National Day, a Chinese national holiday — if you couldn’t guess. According to the nation’s media outlets, the birds were routinely violated as unlucky officials searched their feathers, legs, and anuses for suspicious objects yesterday.

Once no bombs were found, the birds were packed up and sent on their way for today’s celebration in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The entire process was reportedly videotaped, but most of the nation’s news outlets were forced to pull down stories on the incident, in cooperating with the Chinese government’s strict hold on national media.

As the Verge notes, reports didn’t indicated precisely what Chinese officials were looking for. Security concerns are high after Beijing blamed a series of attacks on separatist groups. Tensions have been running high between the Chinese government and separatist factions of Uighurs, a Muslim minority that has long sought autonomy from China in the Xinjiang province.

Violence has escalated in the past year, wherein China jailed one Uighur advocate for life for “inciting separatism” and 29 people were killed by attackers, allegedly separatists, in a Beijing train station.

According to pigeon experts, a Trojan pigeon isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. One told the New York Times that it would be possible for a pigeon to carry an explosive on their wings, on their legs, or in their anus. Some, however, believe that when officials search pigeons, something is seriously wrong. Some say this is more indicative of the inhumane treatment Chinese citizens are subject to in this climate of fear.

“The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons,” columnist Zhang Ping wrote in an editorial. “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.