If the Party had any control over it, no doubt Beijing would have the best climate of any Chinese city; as it is, it has one of the worst. The best time to visit is in autumn, between September and October, when it’s dry and clement. In winter, it gets very cold, down to -20°C, and the mean winds that whip off the Mongolian plains feel like they’re freezing your ears off. Summer (June–Aug) is muggy and hot, up to 30°C, and the short spring (April & May) is dry but windy, with dust often blowing in from the northwestern deserts – you’ll see it covering cars.

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