Just looked out the window and saw the bluest Shanghai sky that I’ve witnessed since … the Olympics?
Of course, the blue sky Olympics were achieved through a series of stringent regulations that choked off economic activity and – by extension – air pollution. In contrast, this evening’s lovely winter dusk is attributable to the oncoming Spring Festival and the near total cessation of economic activity (and pollution) while China’s migratory labor force enjoys a few weeks at home. At least, that’s how it worked in years past. This year, with the economic crisis already having a crippling impact on China’s export sector, one can’t help but wonder if these blue skies will persist into the spring, and later. It’s a bittersweet trade-off, really: the economic health of China’s migrants, versus the blue skies that they’ll tell you that they used to enjoy back home, before China’s economy achieved its miracle.
For more blue sky photos of Shanghai, and elsewhere in China, take a look at the marvelous set of images taken by flickr user kattebeeletje’s mother in 1984 and 1985 (h/t Shanghaiist).
Further thoughts on blue oxen can be found here.