While out on a run a few days ago, I saw a fish jump in the moat beside the North 2nd Ringroad near Deshengmen. Well, more heard than saw. But I am pretty damned sure it was a fish: they make a rather distinctive plop. And there was no-one and nothing else in the vicinity that might have fallen (or thrown something) into the water.
This is a moment of some excitement. In ten years of living nearby the 2nd Ringroad moat and the Houhai lakes, having spent many, many hours watching local fishermen hopefully cast their lines into these waters, I have NEVER seen a fish - landed, being reeled in, or at large in the water. NOT ONCE.
The only fish I've ever seen being caught within the city were in the little lake in Ritan Park, where there's long been a fishing concession hiring rods out of a hut opposite the Stone Boat Bar. I believe that lake has to be articially restocked pretty regularly.
Fish living wild in Beijing's foully polluted waterways? I'd always been a sceptic about the possibility.
But perhaps things are finally looking up; maybe the water is becoming cleaner, and fish numbers are increasing.
This may come as an uncomfortable shock to Beijing's legions of fishermen, most of whom probably haven't seen a fish in decades, and wouldn't have a clue how to land one when they finally get a bite.