by Toffler



Daylight Savings and Time Zones in China

October 25, 2006, by TofflerN, category Knowledge and Experiences, Tourism, Traveling

As the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and most of the US (except HI, AZ, & parts of IN) prepare to set their clocks back 1 hour this Sunday, I’m wondering why China doesn’t. The sun rises here in Shanghai around 6am, which is fine. However, it is already dark by the time I get home from work around 5:30pm. This is annoying because it means I can’t go running after I get home. It seems very strange to me. I think they should also do Daylight Savings like the rest of the world so that the sun rises closer to 7am and sets around 6pm. This also seems to fit better with the nature of the people. For the most part, the Chinese are not early risers. Most of us are sleeping until long after the sun rises and therefore we are burning daylight (a sad thing). To be clear, generally the work day starts at 9am, not 8am, so there’s no reason not to have the sun rise a little later and also set a little later so that the workers can go home around sunset rather than in darkness. I think this would also help delay the constant construction that goes on outside my window at 4-5am. Perhaps the reason the government doesn’t support setting our clocks back 1 hours is because they don’t want to make it any worse for western China.

That’s right. A surprising fact is that ALL of China is on 1 Time Zone! That means when its 6am in Shanghai, it’s also 6am in Inner Mongolia and Tibet and Xinjiang, etc! Therefore, if China were to have us set our clocks back 1 hour, though it would be appropriate in Shanghai, it would exacerbate the situation in western China. When I first heard this, I thought this was very curious. And I felt so bad for the people in western China who’d have to go to work in pitch black (essentially the middle of the night), but then someone told me that’s not the case. They just do everything on a different time schedule. For example, they go to work at noon and finish at 9pm and that is considered normal there. This situation is especially strange for travelers when they cross one of the borders of western China, such as India, Mongolia, or Kazakhstan, as they jump approximately 6 hours / time zones. You’ve got to wonder why the Chinese government does this. Is this an attempt to unify the country? I would think it would just cause resentment. Or is it just simply the need of the Chinese government to be authoritarian?

China & its neighbors


  1. Elva |

    I remember that we did set our clocks back one hour when I was in primary school, but the state government abandoned the implemention of Daylight Saving Time in 1992 mainly because of the size of the nation. Plus, it didn’t make a good effect on energy conservation and caused some chaos in industrial manufacture, traffic as well as people’s daily life.

  2. Mabel |

    I don’t think setting time back and forth is a good idea. Sticking to one time, otherwise our biologic clock would be in a mess.
    However, I do agree with you on the time zone thing.It’s really stupid and unfair to have one time zone in China, a country who has the third largest territory in the world. Millions of people in the western China have to “burn their daylight” in their whole lifetime just to make it easy for the state government to govern?(I’m sorry i’m not good at politics, but that”s all i can think of the purpose.) What is worse is that, since one is used to the one-time-zone thing, when he travels across the country, it’s quite natural for him to totally forget the several-hour time lag. Is that ridiculous?

So, what do you think ?