Though Shanghai’s latitude makes it pretty hard for us to see snowfall, northern China has been blanketed by it for days. As it’s pretty rare for the area around Beijing to get snow this early in the cold season, the torrents have brought about some complications and tragedies, but also joy.
Northerners have taken a beating from the weather: ancient trees were toppled at Longxing temple in Hebei, hospitals in Beijing have seen increases in patients, and buildings have collapsed in various places. There were a few deaths, the saddest of which involves students dying when their school canteens collapsed under the downfall. Premier Wen Jiabao has traveled around Hubei to oversee relief efforts, and tanks have been on call to help de-ice city streets – all testaments to how serious this snowstorm has been.
On the lighter side, the snowstorm has brought about an early present for those who love the snow: JF daily has a great thread of pictures of snowmen from around China. They’re everything you’d expect, from the Chinese ersatz Power Rangers to Hello Kitty, but our favorite is definitely the snowpanda, who’s way too fat and cute for us to wonder what those lemon-lime circles are on his head.
Incidentally, with all this snow, the Wall Street Journal has mused on whether Beijing’s suspiciously secretive Weather Ministry has anything to do with the blizzards. It seems that they were responsible before all the complications, and denied any involvement afterward. Hmmm, maybe they can’t control the weather as well as we all (sort of) believed?