The public swimming pools are crowded with people, and long lines of people are waiting in front of the library from morning to cool off in air-conditioned rooms. The killer heat wave that is hitting China this summer is the worst in history.
People, people, people. …… The surface of the water is covered with people!
In Beijing, the capital of China, there were 29 extremely hot days with a maximum temperature exceeding 35°C (as of July 25), breaking a record for the first time in 23 years. In the Turfan Basin of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the temperature exceeded 52°C, the highest ever recorded. The area is called ‘a giant sauna’ on the Internet,” said a reporter stationed in China for a national newspaper.
In scorching China, countermeasures against the heat are being taken with wisdom. The authorities have opened air-raid shelters for citizens to cool off, and people are enjoying themselves by dipping their feet in mahjong ponds. Chinese journalist Zhou Laiyu said, “The bomb shelters were built by the U.S. and Soviet Union.
During the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong, who was worried about nuclear war, ordered that bomb shelters be built all over the country. Now they are abandoned, so there is no way to avoid using them. In China, pools are famous for the sight of large numbers of people gathered in them, but in rural areas there is only about one in each city. Because there are so few of them, people end up concentrating on the pools.”
At first glance, this may seem like an odd sight, but it seems that Japan could learn a thing or two from this. Mr. Zhou continues.
You may think it’s funny to see people lying down in the cool subway, but China has the audacity to use public facilities to cool off. In the life-threatening heat, it doesn’t matter what you look like. This is not the time to be choosy.
Behind this shocking scene lies the toughness of people living in a harsh climate.
From the August 11, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Afro CFoto/Afro