A Big Nation With One Time Zone

It takes some getting used to:

China, a country that is of roughly similar size to the continental United States, has one time zone: Beijing Standard Time. This means that when it’s 6 o’clock in the nation’s capital, it’s 6 o’clock almost 3,000 miles further west, in Kashgar. Allison Schrager, in her widely circulated article from last week advocating that the continental U.S. reduce its time zones from four to two, cited China as an example of why such a change would be less problematic than people would expect. Maybe so, but the single time zone does present odd sights: In the summer, for instance, it isn’t uncommon in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, to see people enjoying a beautiful sunset … at midnight. Or for the sun to rise there in the winter around 10 AM. In order to accommodate people inconvenienced by the time zone change, shops and restaurants in Xinjiang often adjust their hours—but the effect can still be disorienting for the unaccustomed traveler.