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Party crashers

Pigeons and paranoia belie China's surprising calm

China’s upcoming Party Congress is a rare chance to see what troubles China’s authorities. This year, the list of identified threats includes pigeons, taxi passengers and kitchen knives. It sounds like overzealous bureaucracy ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition. But it’s to the outgoing leaders’ credit that even without such rules, China remains basically economically and socially stable. Some of the new curbs seem frivolous – such as banning pigeon owners from flying their birds during the week-long congress, or preventing supermarkets from ...