I hear the central heating is going to be turned on in Beijing this weekend - nearly two weeks ahead of the traditional November 15th date for this annual rite of passage.
Now, it has been savagely nippy here this last week: daytime temperatures barely crawling above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (and a good 10 or 15 degrees colder in my apartment!), and the overnight lows plunging close to freezing a couple of times. Over this weekend, it seems likely that it's going to start freezing regularly overnight, while the daytime temperatures are plummeting from the high 50s and low 60s into the mid-40s. As I feared a month ago, winter seems to be showing up three or four weeks early this year.
So, there is good reason to bring forward the initiation of the winter central heating.
Am I being unduly cynical to wonder if it's just in Beijing, if it isn't somehow connected to the upcoming National Party Congress next week? I mean, you don't want to give the citizens of the capital any particular reason to feel pissed off with the government at a time like this, do you?