Beijing Becomes Obsessed With Rain

Chinese people want some, but not too much, for Olympics
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2008 1:33 PM CDT
Tourists use umbrellas for shade while viewing Olympic decorations at Tiananmen Square, Tuesday, July 29, 2008 in Beijing.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – Talking about the weather isn’t just idle conversation in Beijing these days—it’s a national obsession, the Washington Post reports. The country is so anxious for a sunny Olympics—with just enough rain to clear the smog, of course—that changes in the forecast have become front-page news. Monday even saw the launch of Olympic Weather News, a daily newspaper devoted entirely to the topic.

China, of course, is not leaving something so critical to the national psyche up to chance. The country has created a Beijing Weather-Engineering Office, which has devoted its 32,000 employees to building a “defensive web” around Bird’s Nest stadium. The web’s 26 control stations will seed clouds, hopefully ensuring that they drop their water before they drift over the Games.