All 10,000 were due to be released at the National Day celebration, and each had its anus checked for "dangerous materials" — security theater with Chinese characteristics.
Beijing domestic security police officer, Guo Chunwei, was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were "not carrying suspicious material".
The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said.
A similar report appeared in the Beijing News, and the People's Daily tweeted about it in English: "10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed."
Chinese security body-searches 10,000 pigeons [Al Jazeera]