Chinese Cheered by Eclipse
Nation desperate for good sign a week before Olympics
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2008 5:23 PM CDT
A man looks at a solar eclipse through exposed x-ray film in Xian, China Friday Aug. 1, 2008.   (Cara Anna)
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(Newser) – Finally, China had an act of nature it could celebrate. After an Olympic year of freakish natural disasters, crowds of Chinese watched a total solar eclipse along the country's ancient Silk Road on Friday, one week before the start of the Summer Games in Beijing, the AP reports.

It was a welcome respite after a 2008 that began with heavy snowstorms at the Chinese New Year, followed by China's deadliest earthquake in a generation, then river flooding—and even a huge algae bloom at the Olympic sailing site. The eclipse, once a bad omen for China's imperial rulers, was cheered by a country eager for any auspicious sign before the games.