February 6, 2012
By Gordon G. Chang
This month, the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department reported that China imported 102,779 kilograms of gold from Hong Kong in November, an increase from October’s 86,299 kilograms. Beijing does not release gold trade figures, so for this and other reasons the Hong Kong numbers are considered the best indication of China’s gold imports.
Analysts believe China bought as much as 490 tons of gold in 2011, double the estimated 245 tons in 2010. “The thing that’s caught people’s minds is the massive increase in Chinese buying,” remarked Ross Norman of Sharps Pixley, a London gold brokerage, this month.
So who in China is buying all this gold?
The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, has been hinting that it is purchasing. “No asset is safe now,” said the PBOC’s Zhang Jianhua at the end of last month. “The only choice to hedge risks is to hold hard currency—gold.” He also said it was smart strategy to buy on market dips. Analysts naturally jumped on his comment as proof that China, the world’s fifth-largest holder of the metal, is in the market for more.
There are a few problems with this conclusion. First, the Chinese government rarely benefits others—and hurts itself—by telegraphing its short-term investment strategies.
Second, the central bank has less purchasing power these days. China’s foreign reserves declined in Q4 2011, falling $20.6 billion from Q3. The first quarterly outflow since 1998 was not large, but the trend was troubling. The reserves declined a stunning $92.7 billion in November and December.
Third, the purchase of gold would be especially risky for the central bank, which is already insolvent from a balance sheet point of view. The PBOC needs income-producing assets in order to meet its obligations on the debt incurred to buy foreign exchange, so the holding of gold only complicates its funding operations. This is not to say the bank never buys gold—it obviously does—but there are real constraints on its ability to purchase assets that do not provide current income.
Apart from China’s central bank, there is not much demand from the country’s institutional investors for gold. There are industrial users, of course, but their demand is filled from domestic production—China is the world’s largest gold producer. Most of China’s gold demand from foreign sources, therefore, is from individuals.
December 8, 2011
By Robert Saiget
“Is anyone else sick an tired of all these countries fighting with each other over the most trivial of matters? Aren’t we all human? Don’t we all want peace? The people of the world are not to blame – it’s the governments of the world that are the problem. When people have power, why do they become such arrogant jerks?” –KTRN
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.
The navy should “accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security,” he said.
Addressing the powerful Central Military Commission, Hu said: “Our work must closely encircle the main theme of national defence and military building.”
His comments, which were posted in a statement on a government website, come as the United States and Beijing’s neighbours have expressed concerns over its naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.
Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all. One-third of global seaborne trade passes through the region.
Vietnam and the Philippines have accused Chinese forces of increasing aggression there.
In a translation of Hu’s comments, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the president as saying China’s navy should “make extended preparations for warfare.”
The Pentagon however downplayed Hu’s speech, saying that Beijing had the right to develop its military, although it should do so transparently.
October 4, 2011
By David Stanway and Aileen Wang
* Beijing accuses U.S. senate of “politicising” trade issues
* Warns of trade war, says bill would violate WTO rules
* Forcing the yuan higher would damage world recovery
* Says bill will not address underlying economic problems (Adds analyst quote, Xinhua commentary, links)
An angry China warned Washington on Tuesday that passage of a bill aimed at forcing Beijing to let its currency rise could lead to a trade war between the world’s top two economies.
China’s central bank and the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs accused Washington of “politicising” currency issues and putting the global economy at risk after U.S. senators voted on Monday to start a week of debate on the bill.
The response suggested China sees a greater risk from the proposed bill than it has in the past when U.S. lawmakers attempted to put forward similar legislation to speed up the pace of appreciation in the yuan, or renminbi.
Beijing made similar remarks last year after the House of Representatives passed a currency bill that later failed to make any further progress in Congress.
Tuesday’s coordinated salvo and the central bank’s warning of a trade war and a slowdown in China’s exchange rate reforms indicated Beijing was taking the latest currency bill more seriously.
“It is very rare for three different ministries of the country to refute something so quickly and strongly, showing how deeply the Chinese government is concerned about the yuan bill,” said Wang Zihong, a researcher at the China Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank.
“The strong responses made by the Chinese government may also suggest that the possibility would be quite high this time that the United States will pass the final bill in the end and that Beijing is worried about the possible negative impact on China’s exports resulting from the legislation,” he said.
U.S. Senate vote opened a week of debate on the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011, which would allow the U.S. government to slap countervailing duties on products from countries found to be subsidising their exports by undervaluing their currencies.
U.S. lawmakers, eyeing 2012 elections, said keeping China’s currency undervalued had cost American jobs and that a fairer exchange rate would help cut an annual trade gap Washington puts at more than $250 billion.
“By using the excuse of a so-called ‘currency imbalance’, this will escalate the exchange rate issue, adopting a protectionist measure that gravely violates WTO rules and seriously upsets Sino-U.S. trade and economic relations,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement posted on China’s official government website (www.gov.cn) on Tuesday.
“China expresses its adamant opposition to this.”
Ma urged U.S. legislators to “proceed from the broader picture of Sino-U.S. trade and economic cooperation” and “forsake protectionism”.
He repeated Beijing’s position that it will continue to gradually reform its currency policy, “strengthening the flexibility of the renminbi exchange rate.”
China’s exchange rate has long been a bone of contention between Beijing and Washington. The yuan has appreciated some 30 percent against the dollar since it was revalued in 2005, although critics say it is still valued too low and gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.
The emergence of China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy has led to often testy relations with the United States. The most recent tension was over U.S. plans for a $5.3 billion upgrade of the F-16 A/B fighter fleet of Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a breakaway province.
CAN THE BILL PASS?
Monday’s vote bolsters prospects for the bill to clear the Democrat-run Senate later this week, but prospects for action in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are murky.
If the bill did clear both chambers, it would present President Barack Obama with a tough decision on whether to sign the popular legislation into law and risk a trade war with Beijing, or veto it to pursue a more diplomatic approach.
“My colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, agree that China’s deliberate actions to devalue its currency give its goods an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
China has routinely denied claims that its policies are responsible for trade imbalances and a high rate of unemployment in the United States, saying that structural problems were to blame.
“It is widely understood that the renminbi exchange rate is not the cause of China-U.S. trade imbalances,” Ma said.
China’s central bank said in a statement that the bill failed to address the underlying issues in the U.S. economy.
“The yuan bill passed by the U.S. senate will not solve its problems, such as insufficient savings, high trade deficit and high unemployment rate, but it may seriously affect the whole progress of China’s reform of its yuan exchange rate regime and may also lead to a trade war which we would not like to see.”
Ma said Beijing would continue “proactive” and “gradual” reform of the currency and the central bank added Chinese inflation had already pushed the real yuan exchange rate further “towards the equilibrium.”
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said the United States was trying to pass on the blame for its own failings.
“Trying to turn domestic disputes onto another country is both unfair and in violation of standard international rules, and China expresses its concern,” he said in a statement issued on the ministry’s website.
The Senate move had to be viewed in the context of deepening economic and political uncertainties in the United States, as well as dwindling approval ratings ahead of next year’s elections, the state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary.
“U.S. politicians are using the pretext of creating jobs and playing the China currency card — the practice of diverting attention from domestic conflicts has almost become a political convention in recent years,” it said.
Shen said any move by the United States to force the yuan to appreciate would undermine joint efforts to revive global economic growth, which took another blow on Monday with data showing that global manufacturing shrank in September for the first time in over two years.
“It will weaken China-U.S. efforts to join hands and together promote global economic recovery,” he said. “The global economic is in a complex, sensitive and changeable period, and so even more needs a stable international monetary environment.”
U.S. critics of China’s currency policy have gained some traction as a weak economy keeps U.S. unemployment stuck above 9 percent and as 2012 presidential elections draw near.
Passage of the bill by the Democratic-controlled Senate would send it to the House, which is run by traditionally free-trade-friendly Republicans.
A China currency bill passed the House last year with 99 Republican votes, but lapsed because the Senate took no action. This year, the bill already has more than 200 House co-sponsors and this week supporters expect to reach 218, the number needed to pass it.
However, House Republican leaders have not shown a great appetite to pursue currency legislation, and it is unclear if the bill would ever face a vote in that chamber.
As with similar legislation in the past, the Obama administration has not taken a public stance on the bill, although White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that the president shares “the goal it represents.”
The Senate decision was a sign that China was being made a scapegoat by struggling western economies, said Wang Jun, researcher at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.
“Maybe the United States will not be the only and last country
July 30, 2010
Depending on how fast its exchange rate rises, China is on course to overtake the United States and vault into the No.1 spot sometime around 2025, according to projections by the World Bank, Goldman Sachs and others.
China came close to surpassing Japan in 2009 and the disclosure by a senior official that it had now done so comes as no surprise. Indeed, Yi Gang, China’s chief currency regulator, mentioned the milestone in passing in remarks published on Friday.
“China, in fact, is now already the world’s second-largest economy,” he said in an interview with China Reform magazine posted on the website of his agency, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
“China is still a developing country, and we should be wise enough to know ourselves,” Yi said, when asked whether the time was ripe for the yuan to become an international currency.
Can It Be Sustained?
China’s economy expanded 11.1 percent in the first half of 2010, from a year earlier, and is likely to log growth of more than 9 percent for the whole year, according to Yi.
China has averaged more than 9.5 percent growth annually since it embarked on market reforms in 1978. But that pace was bound to slow over time as a matter of arithmetic, Yi said.
If China could chalk up growth this decade of 7-8 percent annually, that would still be a strong performance. The issue was whether the pace could be sustained, Yi said, not least because of the environmental constraints China faces.
In an assessment disputed by Beijing, the International Energy Agency said last week that China had surpassed the United States as the world’s largest energy user. If China can keep up a clip of 5-6 percent a year in the 2020s, it will have maintained rapid growth for 50 years, which Yi said would be unprecedented in human history.
The uninterrupted economic ascent, which saw China overtake Britain and France in 2005 and then Germany in 2007, is gradually translating into clout on the world stage.
China is a leading member of the Group of 20 rich and emerging nations, which since the 2008 financial crisis has become the world’s premier economic policy-setting forum.
In one important respect, however, China is still a shrinking violet: anxious to shield itself from the rough-and-tumble of global markets, it does not permit its currency to be freely exchanged except for purposes of trade and foreign direct investment.
And Yi said Beijing had no timetable to make the yuan fully convertible.
“China is very big and its development is unbalanced, which makes this problem much more complicated. It’s difficult to reach a consensus on it,” he said.
In the same vein, China was in no rush to turn the yuan into a global currency.
“We must be modest and we still have to keep a low profile. If other people choose the yuan as a reserve currency, we won’t stop that as it is the demand of the market. However, we will not push hard to promote it,” he added.
No Big Rise in Yuan
China has been encouraging the use of the yuan beyond its borders, allowing more trade to be settled in renminbi and taking a series of measures to establish Hong Kong as an offshore center where the currency can circulate freely.
But Yi said: “Don’t think that since people are talking about it, the yuan is close to becoming a reserve currency.
Actually, it’s still far from that.” He said expectations of a stronger yuan, also known as the renminbi, had diminished.
There was no basis for a sharp rise in the exchange rate, partly because the price level in China had risen steadily over the past decade. “This suggests that the value of the renminbi has moved much closer to equilibrium compared with 10 years ago,” he said.
Yi’s comments are unlikely to go down well in Washington, where lawmakers have scheduled a hearing for Sept. 16 to consider whether U.S. government action is needed to address China’s exchange rate policy.
China scrapped the yuan’s 23-month-old peg to the dollar on June 19 and resumed a managed float. The yuan has since risen only 0.8 percent against the dollar, and economists calculate that it has fallen in value against a basket of currencies.
China would stick to the principle of holding its $2.45 trillion of official reserves in a mix of currencies and assets.
The stockpile — the world’s largest — was so big that it was impossible to adjust its currency composition in a short space of time: “We won’t be particularly bearish on the dollar at a given time or particularly bearish on the euro at another time.”
July 26, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
Summertime heat is an annoyance to some people, but according to Xu Qian, director of the infectious diseases department at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, sweating from the hot, summer heat is a natural part of keeping your body healthy, and avoiding this heat can actually cause health problems.
People typically run their air conditioners throughout the summertime in order to beat the heat, but doing so can actually compromise the immune system.
“People should go with the rules of nature. Summer is the time to sweat. It’s a natural process for the body to respond to the outside environment, and adjust itself through the constricting of blood vessels and nerves. In this sense, air conditioning is a reactive restrain of the body against nature,” Qian explained in a China Daily article.
Excessive sweating without replenishing the body with water, electrolytes and healthy salt, can be a bad thing, but not sweating at all can be even worse. And moving from hot areas to cold areas, and vice versa, on a regular basis throughout the summer can put excessive strain on a person’s health
“Air conditioning might induce infection of the upper respiratory tract, cause colds, throat pain, pharyngitis, and even pneumonia,” said Qian.
Sweating is also an important method by which the skin helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
“One of [the skin's] functions is to eliminate a portion of the body’s toxic waste products through sweating,” explains Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, in her book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements.
July 20, 2010
By: Ben Blanchard & Emma Graham-Harrison
China has shown off its growing military strength with naval exercises off its eastern coast, shortly before Washington and Seoul are expected to carry out their own drills which Beijing has criticised.
State television broadcast images on Tuesday it said showed the East Sea Fleet on recent manoeuvres, including helicopters and a submarine launching a long-range missile underwater.
It did not say exactly where or when the pictures were taken and it was not clear if they showed a drill that the official Xinhua news agency said took place over the weekend.
Xinhua said four rescue helicopters and four rescue ships were deployed in the two-day drill in the Yellow Sea, where the United States and South Korea are planning manoeuvres aimed at sending a message of deterrence to North Korea.
Beijing has condemned those drills, which many in China feel are also aimed at their country.
Zhu Chenghu, a strategic studies professor at the National Defence University, told the China News Service that the U.S.-South Korean drills were clearly aimed at sending Beijing a message as much as they were directed at North Korea.
“They will take place in the Yellow Sea, which is the entry point to China’s house, and they obviously want to show off their military strength,” he said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates dismissed concerns on Tuesday, saying the drills were routine.
Neither Xinhua nor state television mentioned the U.S.-South Korean exercises. But the official China Daily quoted experts downplaying the Chinese drill, which started on Saturday.
“The nature of the drill is very different from that of the US-ROK joint military action,” Beijing-based military analyst Peng Guangqian was quoted saying.
China’s exercises rehearsed how to defend against long-distance attacks, as well as exploring ways to integrate troops and civilians to tackle emergencies, Xinhua said.
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have risen since the sinking in March of a South Korean warship killed 46 sailors. An investigation launched by Seoul but including international experts concluded a North Korean torpedo had hit the ship.
North Korea has denied responsibility and long-time ally China has not accepted the findings of the investigation.
China has repeatedly criticised the U.S.-South Korean drills.
“We resolutely oppose any activities in the Yellow Sea that may threaten China’s security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang told a routine news conference last Thursday.
China’s growing military clout and rising defence spending have raised concern in Asia, especially in Japan.
Taiwan, the self-ruled island China claims as its own, warned this week that its huge neighbour was still aiming missiles at it, despite warming business and trade ties.
July 9, 2010
By: Mark Thompson
If China’s satellites and spies were working properly, there would have been a flood of unsettling intelligence flowing into the Beijing headquarters of the Chinese navy last week. A new class of U.S. superweapon had suddenly surfaced nearby. It was an Ohio-class submarine, which for decades carried only nuclear missiles targeted against the Soviet Union, and then Russia. But this one was different: for nearly three years, the U.S. Navy has been dispatching modified “boomers” to who knows where (they do travel underwater, after all). Four of the 18 ballistic-missile subs no longer carry nuclear-tipped Trident missiles. Instead, they hold up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles each, capable of hitting anything within 1,000 miles with non-nuclear warheads.
Their capability makes watching these particular submarines especially interesting. The 14 Trident-carrying subs are useful in the unlikely event of a nuclear Armageddon, and Russia remains their prime target. But the Tomahawk-outfitted quartet carries a weapon that the U.S. military has used repeatedly against targets in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Sudan.
That’s why alarm bells would have sounded in Beijing on June 28 when the Tomahawk-laden 560-ft. U.S.S. Ohio popped up in the Philippines’ Subic Bay. More alarms were likely sounded when the U.S.S. Michigan arrived in Pusan, South Korea, on the same day. And the Klaxons would have maxed out as the U.S.S. Florida surfaced, also on the same day, at the joint U.S.-British naval base on Diego Garcia, a flyspeck of an island in the Indian Ocean. In all, the Chinese military awoke to find as many as 462 new Tomahawks deployed by the U.S. in its neighborhood. “There’s been a decision to bolster our forces in the Pacific,” says Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “There is no doubt that China will stand up and take notice.”
U.S. officials deny that any message is being directed at Beijing, saying the Tomahawk triple play was a coincidence. But they did make sure that news of the deployments appeared in the Hong Kong–based South China Morning Post – on July 4, no less. The Chinese took notice quietly. “At present, common aspirations of countries in the Asian and Pacific regions are seeking for peace, stability and regional security,” Wang Baodong, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said on Wednesday. “We hope the relevant U.S. military activities will serve for the regional peace, stability and security, and not the contrary.”
Last month, the Navy announced that all four of the Tomahawk-carrying subs were operationally deployed away from their home ports for the first time. Each vessel packs “the firepower of multiple surface ships,” says Captain Tracy Howard of Submarine Squadron 16 in Kings Bay, Ga., and can “respond to diverse threats on short notice.”
The move forms part of a policy by the U.S. government to shift firepower from the Atlantic to the Pacific theater, which Washington sees as the military focus of the 21st century. Reduced tensions since the end of the Cold War have seen the U.S. scale back its deployment of nuclear weapons, allowing the Navy to reduce its Trident fleet from 18 to 14. (Why 14 subs, as well as bombers and land-based missiles carrying nuclear weapons, are still required to deal with the Russian threat is a topic for another day.)
Sure, the Navy could have retired the four additional subs and saved the Pentagon some money, but that’s not how bureaucracies operate. Instead, it spent about $4 billion replacing the Tridents with Tomahawks and making room for 60 special-ops troops to live aboard each sub and operate stealthily around the globe. “We’re there for weeks, we have the situational awareness of being there, of being part of the environment,” Navy Rear Admiral Mark Kenny explained after the first Tomahawk-carrying former Trident sub set sail in 2008. “We can detect, classify and locate targets and, if need be, hit them from the same platform.”
The submarines aren’t the only new potential issue of concern for the Chinese. Two major military exercises involving the U.S. and its allies in the region are now under way. More than three dozen naval ships and subs began participating in the “Rim of the Pacific” war games off Hawaii on Wednesday. Some 20,000 personnel from 14 nations are involved in the biennial exercise, which includes missile drills and the sinking of three abandoned vessels playing the role of enemy ships. Nations joining the U.S. in what is billed as the world’s largest-ever naval war game are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Singapore and Thailand. Closer to China, CARAT 2010 – for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training – just got under way off Singapore. The operation involves 17,000 personnel and 73 ships from the U.S., Singapore, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
China is absent from both exercises, and that’s no oversight. Many nations in the eastern Pacific, including Australia, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam, have been encouraging the U.S. to push back against what they see as China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea. And the U.S. military remains concerned over China’s growing missile force – now more than 1,000 – near the Taiwan Strait. The Tomahawks’ arrival “is part of a larger effort to bolster our capabilities in the region,” Glaser says. “It sends a signal that nobody should rule out our determination to be the balancer in the region that many countries there want us to be.” No doubt Beijing got the signal.
April 2, 2010
China’s central bank said asset bubbles are emerging in parts of the world and in certain industries that may burst unless supported by real economic recovery.
Rapid asset price increases in major markets since 2009 have been pushed by “ultra-loose” monetary policies by governments around the world and “don’t mean real economies have recovered or will recover strongly,” the People’s Bank of China said in a report posted on its Web site today. Such gains “unless they receive sufficient support from macroeconomic fundamentals, may lead to a new round of asset bubbles that may burst,” the Beijing-based bank said.
The comments reflect concerns by policy makers in the world’s third-largest economy about risks facing the global recovery as governments debate when to withdraw stimulus implemented to fight the financial crisis. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao faces the same dilemma as he seeks to restrain inflation and curb property bubbles while maintaining growth.
“Central banks all face the pressing task of containing asset bubbles and inflation while ensuring economic recovery,” the Chinese central bank said in its 2009 report on international financial markets. A surge in liquidity in global financial markets may push up inflation once economies recover, it said.
Governments worldwide have spent more than $2 trillion in fiscal stimulus to spur growth and may face difficulty coordinating exit strategies because of the “unbalanced global recovery,” the central bank said. The withdrawal of support, together with the threat of inflation and the risks surrounding the sovereign debt of some economies complicate the process, the PBOC said.
Asset bubbles are the “real worry” as China emerges from the global financial crisis into a “boom time,” former central bank adviser Fan Gang said Feb. 1. Economists at the government- backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warned Jan. 11 that the nation’s gross domestic product could expand as much as 16 percent in 2010 unless policy makers withdraw stimulus.
Still, Premier Wen Jiabao on March 5 pledged to maintain a “moderately loose” monetary policy this year to cement China’s recovery, while keeping inflation at around 3 percent. The People’s Bank of China is targeting a drop of 22 percent in new lending this year from last year’s record 9.59 trillion yuan and has told banks twice this year to set aside more cash as reserves to curb excessive liquidity.
Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent in February and property prices in 70 major Chinese cities climbed the most in almost two years, prompting the government to order lenders to tighten loans to the real-estate industry.
The PBOC’s comments today echo those of other international central bank officials. Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said Nov. 13 that he was “scared” that money flowing into Asia because of low interest rates in the U.S. could lead to another crisis in the region. World Bank President Robert Zoellick told Australian Financial Review on Jan. 13 that a liquidity-driven world recovery faces the risk of asset price inflation.
February 2, 2010
China has said relations with the United States will be seriously undermined if President Barack Obama holds a meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
A senior Chinese communist party official has said Beijing will take action if the meeting goes ahead.
The White House has indicated that President Obama intends to meet the Dalai Lama, who is due in Washington later this month, but no date has been announced.
China’s ties with the US have become more strained in recent months over a variety of issues, including planned US arms sales to Taiwan and accusations by the internet company Google of systematic attempts originating in China to hack into its computer systems.
China has for many years tried to isolate the Dalai Lama by asking foreign leaders not to meet him.
November 2, 2009
Times of India
By Saibal Dasgupta
Beijingers woke up Sunday morning to a city turned white with snow that came far ahead of the winter. It was only in the later part of the day that one learnt that 186 doses of silver iodide went into persuading the clouds to release snow flakes.
The metrological department said it had started seeding the clouds from 8pm in Saturday to beat down lingering drought in and around Beijing. The department claimed success in producing 16 million tones of snow for the city.
“We wont miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought,” said Zhang Qiang, who is in charge of the Beijing metrological office, said in a statement.
The snow kept falling till mid-afternoon pushing down temperatures to minus 2 Celsius (29 Fahrenheit). Strong winds from the north made aggravated the chill.
Beijing Evening News said it was the earliest case of snow to hit the capital in 10 years, Snow also fell in the northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, the northern province of Hebei, the eastern port city of Tianjin.
China’s meteorologists routinely make rain by injecting special chemicals into clouds. But they have so far not been able to suppress the spread of drought in the northern part of the country this year.