Superstitious beliefs the Communists once tried to stamp out have been making a comeback in China, the Christian Science Monitor reports, especially in this troubled Olympic year. The Games are set to begin on August 8, as 8 sounds like fortune in Mandarin, making 8/8/8 an especially lucky date, but the country has been anything but lucky in recent months.
An alleged curse of the five Olympic mascots has been the subject of much speculation. One cuddly character is an antelope from Tibet, rocked by riots in March. Another is a panda, native to earthquake-hit Sichuan. A swallow resembles a kite from Shandong, site of a deadly train crash. A flame is associated with the troubled Olympic torch run. The fifth is a fish, and with the worst floods in 50 years having forced over a million from their homes last week, some soothsayers say the curse is complete.