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How China's Clean Air Push Backfired on Xi Jinping

  • Government reverses coal ban after failure to install gas heat
  • Local officials stumble in rush to implement Xi’s mandates
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As the icy winds of northern China seeped through Liu Yinguang’s single-pane windows, the new gas-fired heater in the kitchen sat idle: there was no gas.

The 59-year-old laborer was among hundreds in Lirangdian village, south of Beijing, who had been waiting months for gas since the Communist Party banned coal to ease the region’s infamous smog. When Liu complained that his 8-year-old grandson couldn’t sleep through nights as cold as minus 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit), one local official told him to “wait patiently.”