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Reporters on the Job

• GREETING ALLEGED MURDERERS: Three prisoners accused of genocide were brought to testify at the gacaca trial reporter Nicole Itano visited in Rwanda (page 8). When the three men arrived, Nicole was surprised to see villagers greeting them men with hugs and handshakes. Later, when a Tutsi survivor whose wife one of the prisoners was accused of killing took refuge in her car from the rain, Nicole asked the man how he felt about the greeting they received. He told her that he had gone up to greet the villagers. "He told me that was the Rwandan way, to always be polite under all circumstances," she said. "I was amazed at the degree of decorum."

• THE HUSH BEFORE THE CONGRESS: The preparations for the China's National Party Congress – the official changeover in power (page 1) – have been conspicuous in Beijing. Security is tight.

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"The capital is on high alert because of warnings that Uighur terrorists will try to disrupt meeting," says the Monitor's Robert Marquand. The streets near his residence, an apartment complex where journalists and diplomats live, have been blocked off. He's noticed a jump in the number of policemen – plainclothes and uniformed – and soldiers in the streets. And people are nervous about speaking to foreign reporters.

"Communist Party scholars, intellectuals, and other party people have clammed up. No one wants to say anything until after the congress is over," says Bob.

"Did I mention my email? If I try to open emails with words such as 'party leadership' in the subject field, they won't open."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot