The nights are freezing for villagers near the site of an Asia-Pacific summit on the outskirts of Beijing, where authorities have banned wood fires to curb pollution and help ensure blue skies for the leaders instead of the usual grey smog.
"I now sleep under three quilts at night," said a man who gave only his surname, Bai, as is typical of many Chinese when speaking to journalists.
"There cannot be any smoke, and we cannot heat our brick beds," said Bai, 68. Traditional raised sleeping platforms in frigid northern Chinese houses are often heated by coal and provide warmth during both the day and night.
World leaders, including President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, are meeting Monday and Tuesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in a lavish new resort on the capital's outskirts. At best, they are likely to catch only a glimpse of the surrounding rural life.World leaders sleep peacefully in their suites at summit meetings, because some poor peasant has to shiver in their behalf.