Beijing Bags It

Vincent Yu/AP.

Celebrations kick off in Tiananmen Square after Beijing wins the bid to host the 2008 Olympics.

How familiar it all looks. A three-deep phalanx of police block access to Tiananmen Square until a crowd of thousands, led by young toughs using bicycles as battering rams, breaks the line and surges through. By midnight, tens of thousands of cheering Chinese pour into the political epicenter of Beijing, defying orders to leave. Gangs of bare-chested teenagers climb lampposts to lead the masses in sloganeering. A potentially grim scene for any government. Yet every once in a lucky while, history repeats itself not as tragedy but as fun. Nearly everybody is waving a red flag. Chanters yell: "Long live China."...

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