According to official PRC reports, on the night of April 4, 1952, hundreds of small rodents fell from the skies over Gannan county. The next morning, villagers in this remote corner of western Heilongjiang province awoke to find sickly voles scattered in haystacks, piled on rooftops, and even squirming on kangs next to slumbering women and children. Government reports praise the inherent wisdom and decisiveness of the Gannan villagers. Well-versed in the natural flora and fauna of the region, they immediately suspected that these rat-like animals were an alien species, a form of biological weapon disseminated by American planes that had crossed the Yalu River from the Korean front. By noon the villagers had killed, burned, and buried every vole they could find (ISC 1952, 40–3).

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