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Events foretold

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James Reynolds | 08:39 UK time, Thursday, 7 August 2008

China once believed that you could see the Great Wall from space. But this morning the mist was so heavy that you could barely even see it from the ground.

Torch relay on the Great WallStill, the latest leg of the Olympic torch relay at the Great Wall went ahead as planned. This morning (at 4am) we were driven to a portion of the wall at Badaling, just outside Beijing.

We were escorted to a stage set up by the wall. Several thousand cheerleaders all wearing yellow stood on the wall itself. A giant Olympic slogan ("One World One Dream") had been placed on the hillside - but the mist was so thick that you couldn't really see it properly.

Then, at 6.15am, before anything had even happened, we were handed a press release (distributed by the Propaganda Department of Badaling Special Zone Administrative Center.)

"At 6:30 on the morning of August 7th, the Olympic torch motorcade arrived at Badaling Great Wall scenic area. The Great Wall was covered in a holiday-like atmosphere with flags and sounds of gongs everywhere."

The press release went on...

"After the torch-bearer get to the top of the fourth watchtower in the north side and waved the torch at the crowd, 2008 pigeons flew up into the sky, and 2008 balloons were released [...] All the colour-bearers and volunteers were waving their flags and cheering for the completion of the torch relay."

It was slightly curious to read about all of this in the past tense when it hadn't even taken place.

But, of course, the events unfolded in the exact order foretold in the press release - no interruptions, no disruptions at all.

When you're entirely confident about your plans, you can write about the future as if it's already happened.

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