Changing China

Giant on the move

Beijing white-out

January 17, 2008

Bird’s Nest

The snow falling in Beijing on Thursday made it hard to imagine that in just over 200 days heat and humidity will be a major factor for athletes to contend with during the Games.

The withdrawal of the Swiss dressage team from the equestrian competition last week over of fears of the safety of their horses in the humidity of Hong Kong was a reminder of how hot China can be in the Summer.  

Beijing may be 2,000 km north of Hong Kong, but in August boasts average temperatures around 25 degrees Celcius, 74 percent relative humidity and suffers frequent rainstorms. 

Of course, the Olympics have been held in hot cities before – Athens is not noted for its  low temperatures in August, while Atlanta was positively stifling for the 1996 Games.

But combined with the likely air pollution, expectations of record performances in endurance events like the marathon are low. 

So if you’re coming to Beijing this Summer, ignore Jason Lee’s picture of the Bird’s Nest in the snow, leave the thermal underwear at home and pack plenty of T-shirts. Oh, and a raincoat.  

Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters  



I’m not expecting air pollution for the games. Turning off the rust belt factories seems likely for the duration.


The snow is not the only white-out. Inhale the creamy grey air for a real taste of what’s in store for the olympians.


I don’t think turning off the factories is going to be enough. Need to turn off the renovation as well.


and I would say: a good umbrella, and a fan!

Posted by LN | Report as abusive

Beijing is muggy and hot in the afternoon but refreshing thundershowers provide enjoyable relief. The early mornings are fine. Yes, it cooks at noon onward in the big concrete/asphalt squares. However, Beijing summer evenings are lovely and romantic, if one can find a little patch of green earth in a campus, park, palace, or suburban forested area, such as the monasteries in the Western Hills. The Summer palace is called that for a reason. Also the emperors of the last dynasty spent summers up in Chengde. Many factories have been shut or moved. the construction dust will be nil because the migrant labors will be sent home for the duration. There will be a crash program to sweep streets and plant grass in time for the Games. the main concern is leaded gasoline and diesel exhaust particulate. Vehicles not serving the Olympics will be shut down. I will be skipping the chaos and hubbub to enjoy Seattle and perhaps a drive up to see the Arctic Circle in Yukon/Alaska.

Posted by former beijing resident | Report as abusive

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