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Thousands in Rural China Secretly Burn Coal as Gas Prices Soar

Jinzhang village's primary school is using a small electric heater as a temporary measure, but the classrooms are still very cold. Photo: Yang Yifan/Caixin
Jinzhang village's primary school is using a small electric heater as a temporary measure, but the classrooms are still very cold. Photo: Yang Yifan/Caixin

(Linfen, Shanxi province) – Families in the heart of China's coal belt are secretly burning tree branches and coal briskets to keep warm this winter, after a government campaign to install gas heating failed to meet deadlines.

A spike in the price of natural gas and supply shortages have added to their woes, making it impractical for rural households and businesses to switch to the cleaner fuel.

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