Woke up early again today at 4.30, mainly because it gets light here so early and also that I have really thin curtains in my bedroom.
It’s all because of the artificial one- time- zone, that China runs on. Being on Beijing time and being some 550 miles north east of Beijing, it gets dark at 8ish when it should be 9.30ish and gets light at 3.30 rather than 4.30ish. I’ve just looked this up, Changchun is at 43° north latitude, London is at 52° – Changchun is at the same latitude as Marseilles in the south of France so it shouldn’t get dark until very late in the evening!

It’s okay if you happen to live along or near to the Beijing parallel – which includes the important Eastern coastal cities and Guangdong – but elsewhere in China – for me anyway- it’s totally ridiculous. I often talk about this with my students and they don’t even think about it, and find it strange my asking. But I guess if you’ve lived here all your life and known it know other way then would find that a strange thing to ask.

So are there any advantages to the sun coming up so early I ask myself? Well, you could start work earlier – which the Chinese do; much to my annoyance when woken up by someone cutting sheet metal with an angle grinder at 5am! In theory you can start work at 4 or five and work through ’til 5 – which may explain how the Chinese build things so quickly.

I remember during the winter vacation I went to Xian (500miles to the west of Beijing) the sun was coming up at 8.30 in the morning and it getting dark at 7 at night – in February! I am told that in Tibet and Xinjiang (2000miles from Beijing) the only people who use Beijing time are the state controlled railways and the TV stations!

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