China is preparing for a change of the guard. Shortly after Americans go to polls to elect our next president, China's top leadership will change also, uh-er , with no election necessary. The following is an excerpt from the NY Times article. Read the whole article to get a taste for the level of paranoia surrounding this change. And don't forget to pray for the next generation of leaders, whoever they might turn out to be.
"BEIJING — A word of advice to anyone hoping to celebrate the gathering of Communist Party apparatchiks who are about to descend on the capital next week to anoint a new generation of Chinese leaders: Leave the balloons at home.
As this sprawling city of 20 million people steels itself for the 18th Party Congress, all sorts of potentially buoyant objects — balloons, homing pigeons, Ping-Pong balls and remote-control toy airplanes — are finding their way onto lists of suspicious items that could potentially carry protest messages and mar the meticulously choreographed political spectacle.
And this is just a tiny portion of the government’s rules and restrictions, circulated on the Internet but never officially acknowledged, that seem likely to make daily life especially challenging during the weeklong congress, which one provincial police department likened to a “state of war.”
In recent days, kitchen knives have been removed from store shelves, Internet access has mysteriously slowed to the speed of molasses, and international news channels like CNN and the BBC have disappeared from television sets in upscale health clubs." READ THE WHOLE STORY