PLA anniversary honour a heavy cross to bear
The People's Liberation Army has a heavy cross to bear. Not only are its soldiers tasked to protect the motherland and rescue distressed citizens caught in natural disasters. Some of them, privileged enough to be chosen to stand guard at the 60th anniversary celebration of the nation's founding in Tiananmen Square, literally have had to carry a cross on their back in the past few weeks.
They have been taking part in rehearsals to make sure everything goes flawlessly come October 1, and the crosses help to keep them standing ramrod straight. When they are not marching with a cross stuck to their back, they have a brick put on their head to make sure they keep an upright posture. A would-be fashion model may need only a thick book for the purpose, but for a tough PLA soldier, obviously only a heavy brick will do. The men have been doing this under a burning sun for up to six hours a day without rest or allowance for a toilet break. Weaklings who fainted - understandable under the circumstances - were taken out and disqualified for the once-in-a-lifetime honour.
Of course, the bricks and crosses will be gone on October 1.