Mr. C., a thin man with a sweet face, had arranged through a friend for us to make a weekend visit to a Chengdu suburb for a tour of a pigeon racing club and one racer’s private coop.
“How many pigeons did you release?” I asked.
“Ten,” he said mournfully. As we piled out of the sedan into a courtyard, he ran ahead.
The owner of this private coop, who was meeting us inside, was the editor of a newspaper, and also a prominent local member of the Communist Party. Most officials of any substantial-sized business in China probably are, and one might consider it an occupational hazard.
Ah, sweet release: