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Farmers Freeze as Coal Cleanup Campaign Backfires

By Huang Kaixi, Zhou Tailai and Li Rongde
Some people left without heating by the government's recent actions have returned to burning coal, if they can access the fuel. One woman who has done so told Caixin that she had no other choice, faced with icy temperatures. Photo: Visual China
Some people left without heating by the government's recent actions have returned to burning coal, if they can access the fuel. One woman who has done so told Caixin that she had no other choice, faced with icy temperatures. Photo: Visual China

China’s environmental ministry is taking its foot off the accelerator of a campaign to stop rural households from burning coal, after a shortage of natural gas and poor planning left thousands shivering in freezing temperatures.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection, in an urgent letter to 28 northern cities on Monday, said residents could continue using coal to power their winter heating systems or use other means such as burning firewood to keep warm in places where the transition to natural gas or electricity hasn’t been completed.

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