China: If It's Light, It Must Be Urumqi

If It's Light, It Must Be Urumqi

"Is that Urumqi time or Peking time?" asked a visitor to the capital of China's remote Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as he prepared to adjust his watch. A local official tartly replied, "Urumqi time is Peking time." He was, of course, correct, even though the provincial capital is 2,000 miles west of Peking. Until now, all time in China, which sprawls across four time zones, has been Peking time. But the Middle Kingdom has been undergoing rapid change in every sphere, and time is no exception. As of Feb. 1, Urumqi was allowed to set its clocks according to geography's ukase...