In many countries, central heating is unknown and homes are hardly insulated. How do people go through winter anyway? Our authors report.
Energy prices are rising all over the world – and now winter is coming. How do people in other cultures deal with the cold? A world tour by our correspondents.
How cold you feel in winter in China has more to do with the temperatures than it was a very important decision under Mao’s rule. In the 1950s, the Communists wanted to install heating systems, but resources were scarce. The solution was to divide the country along a line running between 32 and 34 degrees N, along the Huai River and the Qinling Mountains. There is only heating in the north of the border. The losers are the southern provinces, where temperatures sometimes dip below freezing point. This is why people wear four or five shifts at home and sleep in winter jackets. At school, teachers sometimes open the windows to let in warm air. With freezing temperatures, the debate over the unfair system returns every year, but there are no reform plans. Those who can afford to heat the city with air conditioning, the rest freeze. Leah Sahi