Time in China

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This article is about the time in the People's Republic of China. For the article about time in the Republic of China, see Time in Taiwan. For the traditional Chinese time keeping, see Chinese calendar § Hours of the day.

The time in China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00, which is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, despite China spanning five geographical time zones. The official national standard time is called Beijing Time (Chinese: 北京时间) domestically and China Standard Time (CST) internationally. The special administrative regions (SARs) maintain their own time authorities, with standards called Hong Kong Time (Chinese: 香港時間) and Macau Standard Time (Chinese: 澳門標準時間) respectively. There is no difference between Beijing time and the times in the SARs. In addition, double time standard is used in Xinjiang, with the alternative time standard being two hours slower than the Beijing Time (UTC+06:00), which is called Ürümqi Time (Chinese: 乌鲁木齐时间) or "Xinjiang Time" (Chinese: 新疆时间).[1][2]

History[edit]

Obsoleted time zones used from 1939 to 1949

There was no nationwide time standard in China until the early 20th century. In imperial China, astrological predictions were conducted according to the time standard based on the locations of then capitals of the imperial dynasties.[citation needed] A summer time was observed in 1919 in Tianjin and Shanghai, and from 1935 to 1962 in parts of China.[citation needed]

In 1918, the Central Observatory of the Republic of China in Peking (now Beijing Ancient Observatory) proposed dividing the country into five time zones, namely Kunlun (UTC+05:30), Sinkiang-Tibet (UTC+06:00), Kansu-Szechwan (UTC+07:00), Chungyuan (UTC+08:00), and Changpai (UTC+08:30). These time zones were ratified in 1939 in the standard time conference of the Ministry of Interior of the Executive Yuan.

After the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the People’s Republic of China abolished the five time zones system and established one single time zone (UTC+08:00) called Beijing Time or China Standard Time for the entire country. The unified time zone policy was adopted by the Communist Party of China or the Central People’s Government some time between 27 September 1949 and 6 October 1949; the exact date is unknown. However, recent research suggests that the policy was most likely adopted on 27 September 1949.[3]

Daylight saving time was observed from 1986 to 1991.[4]

In 1997 and 1999, Hong Kong and Macau were transferred to China from the United Kingdom and Portugal and they were established as special administrative regions. Although the sovereignty of the SARs belongs to China, they retain their own policies regarding time zones for historical reasons. Due to their geographical locations, both are within the UTC+08:00 time zone, which is the same as the national standard — Beijing time.

As an illustration of the wide range, the daylight hours for the Chinese westernmost—not including Xinjiang due to local customs (see below)—and easternmost county seats are included:[5]

Division Daylight time
Location County Province 1 January 1 July
Westernmost Zanda Tibet 09:41 – 19:49 07:40 – 21:50
Easternmost Fuyuan Heilongjiang 06:54 – 15:18 03:05 – 19:08

Regions with special time regulations[edit]

Xinjiang[edit]

In Xinjiang, two time standards, namely, Beijing Time and Xinjiang Time, are used parallelly.[1][2]

The Xinjiang time, or known as Ürümqi Time (Chinese: 乌鲁木齐时间; pinyin: Wūlǔmùqí Shíjiān), is set due to its geographical location in the westernmost part of the country.[6] The time offset is UTC+06:00 which is two hours behind Beijing, and is shared with Kazakhstan.

History[edit]

Xinjiang time have been abolished and re-established multiple times in the history, especially during the 1970s-1980s period. In 1986 February, Chinese government had approved the use of Xinjiang time (UTC+6) in Xinjiang for civil purposes, while railroad, aviation and telecommunication sectors are announced to be continue their operation in Beijing time.[7][2] However, the decision have been rejected by local ethnic Han population and some Han-dominated regional government.[8]

Usage[edit]

Currently, the timezone usage within Xinjiang roughly split along the ethnicity divide, with most ethnic Han population in the area follow the Beijing time and most ethnic Uyghur population in the area follow the Ürümqi Time.[9] Some local authorities are now using both time standard side by side.[10][11] The coexistence of two timezones within same region caused some confusion among local population especially when inter-racial communication occur, and whenever a time is mentioned, it is necessary to either explicitly make clear whether the time is Xinjiang Time or Beijing Time, or convert the time according to ethnicity of the target you are speaking to, in order to avoid the confusion between the two time standard.[12][13][14] The double time standard is particularly observable in Xinjiang Television, which schedule its Chinese channel according to Beijing time and its Uyghur and Kazakh channels according to Xinjiang time. [15]

In term of Beijing Time, most stores and government offices in Xinjiang have modified opening hours, commonly running from 10am to 7pm Beijing Time (which equals 8am to 5pm in Ürümqi).[16]

In most area of Xinjiang, the opening time of local authority would be additionally modified by shifting the morning session 30-60 minutes backward and the afternoon session 30 minutes forward to extend the lunch break for 60-90 minutes, so as to avoid the immense heat during noon time in the area during summer.[11]

In 2014, Apple Inc. released an update to its iOS mobile operating system, which silently changed the default time for users in Xinjiang into Ürümqi Time. As some users in the area were using Beijing Time in their iOS before the update and set the alarm of their phones and tablets according to Beijing time, the silent change have caused some alarm to ring at a time later than expected, causing disruption in daily activity on the day after.[17]

Hong Kong[edit]

Main article: Hong Kong Time

Hong Kong maintains its own time authority after transfer of sovereignty in 1997. The Hong Kong Time (Chinese: 香港時間; pinyin: Xiānggǎng Shíjiān; Cantonese Yale: Hēunggóng sìgaan) is UTC+08:00 all year round, without daylight saving observation. Greenwich Mean Time was adopted as the basis in 1904, and UTC was adopted as a standard in 1972. Before that, local time was determined by astronomical observations at Hong Kong Observatory using a 6-inch Lee Equatorial and a 3-inch Transit Circle.

Macau[edit]

Macau maintains its own time authority after transfer of sovereignty in 1999. The Macao Standard Time[18] (Chinese: 澳門標準時間; pinyin: Àomén Biāozhǔn Shíjiān; Portuguese: Hora Oficial de Macau[19]) is the time in Macau. The time is UTC+08:00 all year round, and daylight saving time is not applied. There was daylight saving time in the past.[citation needed]

IANA time zone database[edit]

Map showing the IANA time zone database zones in China

The territory of the Peoples Republic of China is covered in the IANA time zone database by the following zones.

Columns marked with * are from the file zone.tab of the database.

c.c.* coordinates* TZ* comments* Standard time Summer time Notes
CN +3114+12128 Asia/Shanghai east China - Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, etc. tUTC+08:00 Historically Chungyuan time zone
CN +4545+12641 Asia/Harbin Heilongjiang (except Mohe), Jilin tUTC+08:00 Historical Changpai time zone
CN +2934+10635 Asia/Chongqing central China - Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Shaanxi, Guizhou, etc. tUTC+08:00 Historical Kansu-Szechwan time zone
CN +4348+08735 Asia/Urumqi most of Tibet & Xinjiang tUTC+08:00 Historical Sinkiang-Tibet time zone
CN +3929+07559 Asia/Kashgar west Tibet & Xinjiang tUTC+08:00 Historical Kunlun time zone
HK +2217+11409 Asia/Hong_Kong tUTC+08:00 SAR of China
MO +2214+11335 Asia/Macau tUTC+08:00 SAR of China

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "冷知识:"北京时间"的由来". 新华网. 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  2. ^ a b c GUO, Qing-sheng (2001). "中国标准时制考" [A Study on the Standard Time Changes for the Past 100 Years in China] (PDF). China Historical Materials of Science and Technology (in Chinese). 22 (3): 269–280. 1000-0798(2001)03-0269-12. Retrieved 2016-12-09. 中国标准时制考
  3. ^ Guo, Qingsheng (2003) "Beijing Time at the Beginning of PRC", China Historical Materials of Science and Technology 24(1)
  4. ^ "Chinese political advisors make suggestions on resource saving". Chinese Government's Official Web Portal. People’s Republic of China. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2008. China tried out summer time from 1986 to 1991. 
  5. ^ "NOAA Solar Calculator". NOAA. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  6. ^ http://www.xjxnw.gov.cn/zx/qxfw/qxzs/xjqxsc/02/434015.shtml
  7. ^ 法定时与北京时间,人民教育出版社,Archived 2006-11-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ 王力雄 (2007). 我的西域,你的東土:沒有人曾經,或可能如此解讀新疆與維吾爾人. 大塊出版. ISBN 9789862130117. 
  9. ^ "【讀書時間】在時間的悟透里跋涉或存在". 
  10. ^ "Bending Time in Xinjiang". 
  11. ^ a b "作息时间". Archived from the original on 12 Oct 2014. 
  12. ^ "10点日出,半夜吃饭,在新疆用北京时间的烦恼". 纽约时报中文网国际纵览. 17 June 2016. 
  13. ^ "【城市】乌鲁木齐:没有屋顶的博物馆". 南方周末. 
  14. ^ "Clocks square off in China's far west". Los Angeles Times. 31 March 2009. 
  15. ^ 北京时间的概念
  16. ^ "The Working-Calendar for The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Government". The Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. Archived from the original on 4 Dec 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2008. Urumqi Time (GMT+6) is 2 hours behind Beijing Time 
  17. ^ "乌鲁木齐市民反映:苹果系统升级后自动选择新疆时区". 凤凰资讯. 
  18. ^ Macao Standard Time, Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau
  19. ^ "O SERVIÇO DE <<HORA EXACTA>> NA INTERNET". Smg.gov.mo. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Government departments responsible for time services