After ten days -- or ten months, I've lost track now -- of nonstop explosion-enhanced welcome of the new Year Of The Rat and Of The Olympics, Beijing appears to have returned to work today. That's what I judge from the jammed roads this morning, and the jammed sidewalks this past weekend, full of people carrying suitcases as they come back to town.

And it's what I judge from the air. It's been quite nice these last ten days. But this morning, at 10am, we have:

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r96/jfallows/IMG_5086.jpg


In the short run, plenty discouraging! So what's the good news here? If closing down China's factories and cars for even two weeks made a noticeable difference, maybe there is some hope that the widely-expected months-long closedown before the Olympics will do the trick. Especially if the famous Chinese weather-modification teams can arrange for some of the gelid Siberian blasts that have roared through the city in the past, blue-sky week to reappear in August. Just a thought...

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