World: China: The Siege of the Ants

AFTER more than two decades of Communist rule, regimented pageantry has become China's highest art. To celebrate national holidays, the government often marshals tens and even hundreds of thousands of evenly spaced banner carriers and flag wavers. Schoolchildren throughout the country regularly practice precision marching (often with wooden guns), and even China's productive labor is sometimes carried out in a manner resembling close-order drill. Whatever the occasion, there is one standardized piece of equipment for China's nearly 800 million people—a copy of the little red book containing Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung....

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