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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. (Read more 2008 Beijing Olympics stories.)