An early morning ride to the Summer Palace was marred by the remnants of the worst sandstorm I’ve seen in a year and half. I felt particular sympathy for the men engaged in the largely futile task of sweeping sand off the streets with large brooms. Their work succeeded in liberating the sand for a few seconds, creating magnificent clouds — which then settled back down onto the streets.

As of the early afternoon, most things remain a shade of orange-brown.

I passed by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Party School on the way, which looked all the more unfortunate in the morning light for having had the trees that line its entrance brutally pruned since my last visit.

Party School Before
Party School After
Sandy Xiali Sandsweepers