The drive to cut year-end energy consumption has disrupted the lives of millions of residents in China. In Yiwu, a city of a million people, heating was turned off in offices, shopping malls, schools and hospitals, despite daytime temperatures of about 10 degrees Celsius.
Even street lights went out, leaving drivers and pedestrians fumbling in the dark, according to local residents and government notices. Heating has also been restricted in the nearby city of Wenzhou, home to more than nine million people, according to the local government.
The power restriction in Yiwu first gained attention last month, when photos and videos of pitch dark streets began circulating on Chinese social media.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, Yiwu residents complained about street lamps being turned off and having to drive home in the dark amid traffic chaos. The topic quickly gained traction, drawing over 120 million views and thousands of comments.