Tourists die on Great Wall, freak snowstorm hits Beijing
At least two tourists have died while flights and road travel were disrupted in Beijing this past weekend after a freak snowstorm hit the Chinese capital and surrounding areas.
The deaths of two Japanese tourists occurred in northern Hebei province, local media reported. They had been stranded on an unrestored section of the Great Wall.
The unusually early cold weather arrived ahead of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress, slated to start November 8.
The municipal government has put some 60,000 cleaners on stand-by to clear snow on the road in order to ensure a smooth opening of the party congress, according to Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily.
Some 58 millimeters of precipitation were recorded in central Beijing between Saturday and Sunday morning, according to Xinhua. It is the highest recording over a 24-hour period ever for the city between November and March since 1951.
Snowfall is not usually expected in Beijing until the end of November.