by Henrietta Wang
Phew! Beijing really has been under attack from sand and dust lately! We decided to find out what was being done about it, as we were getting pretty tired of squinting all the time on the approach to the gou-rou.com offices. Though if any amateur car designers out there need a free wind tunnel, the street beside our block is ideal.
At the Bureau for Weather Control Affairs, we spoke to Second Assistant Factotum Wang Liejun. He something about the Japanese and "the plan" being "indefinitely postponed". Distracting him by getting one of our assistants to pretend to be Hu Jintao on the phone, we rifled through Wang's drawer and discovered a memo that was very telling. It detailed a plan to deflect blame from the government for the increasing desertification of northern China by getting Iris Chang to write a book claiming, with all her usual attention to historic fact, that the process had been deliberately begun by Japan during their abortive invasion of Mongolia in the early twentieth century. Sadly, Chang's suicide has left the government having to come up with an actual response.
Above: artist's impression of Wangfujing circa 2112.
But what is that response? Planting a few poxy trees isn't going to cut it, so they'd better come up with something better, and fast. We plied Wang with hospitality, shoving baijiu and chaomianpian down his face at a small Xinjiang restaurant near Houhai. He divulged that Beijing is looking at "total sandpocalypse" by 2111 if the pace of the wind blowing bits of desert in our general direction keeps at its current rate. The solution? Simple. The PLA air force are going to dump unheard-of quantities of white paint on the culprit desert before next season's winds pick up. That way, next time the sand will produce a pleasing "Winter Wonderland" effect and people won't mind so much.