Chinese officials searched the anuses and feathers of all 10,000 pigeons released during its National Day ceremony on Wednesday, according to state-run media reports.
The birds were checked to make sure they were "not carrying suspicious material,” Beijing domestic security police officer, Guo Chunwei, told the Jinghua Times.
The entire screening process was reportedly videotaped at the Yuetan city sports centre in western Beijing. Then the birds were sent in sealed vehicles to Tiananmen Square, where they were released at 6 a.m. Wednesday to “circle above the five-starred red flag overhead.”
“Their wings, tail-feathers, even their anuses must be carefully checked,” an unnamed state security officer told the official newspaper Legal Evening News.
10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed pic.twitter.com/HitEpLMv8o
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) September 30, 2014
The increased security measures come after a string of attacks from separatist rebels from the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority, including bus bombs and random knife attacks, Aljazeera reported.
"The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons," wrote independent columnist Zhang Ping. "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."
Image credit: Twitter, Flickr / nottsexminer