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Many Asian countries have had daylight saving time at some stage. The details of daylight saving time in every country that has ever had it or considered it is included in my book, The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy. The book also includes details of daylight saving in every state of the United States, Australia and Brazil and every Canadian province. Here’s an excerpt on daylight saving time in China.

“Four Asian countries first took up daylight saving during World War II: China in 1940, 1941 and 1945, India (including what is now Pakistan) and Sri Lanka from 1942 to 1945, and Israel from 1940 to 1945. According to The International Atlas of 2005 by Shanks and Pottenger, the only part of China to have daylight saving in 1940 was Shanghai, which also had it in 1941 along with the four cities of Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan. The Supreme National Defence Council ordered daylight saving in free China in 1945 when Chongqing was provisional capital, although western regions of the country may not have used it, while much of the east was occupied by Japan.

All of China had daylight saving from 1986 to 1991 to conserve power. The country saved an estimated 700 million kilowatt hours of energy in 1986, down from earlier forecasts of up to 2 billion kilowatt hours. The Communist Party announced on 18 April 1986 that the whole country would run on Peking Summer Time from 4 May to 14 September to save energy and ran an intensive campaign on television and radio and in newspapers to prepare people. But the authorities created more confusion than clarity. The state airline, CAAC, said it was changing all flights by an hour and then said planes departing at 3 p.m. standard time will now leave at 4 p.m. summer time (same real time) to meet international carriers. The government also said that train, bus and boat timetables would be unchanged, with a service leaving at 3 p.m. standard time now departing at 3 p.m. summer time (an hour different).

Adding to the uncertainty, the People’s Daily said: “During the whole period of summer time, all the trains will work according to the summer time schedule, but passengers will take their trains at the present time schedule.” Also, the communications ministry announced that “nothing would be done to alter the schedules of China’s inland waterway services and long-distance buses to meet daylight saving time”.[1] No doubt many people arrived an hour early or an hour late for their plane, bus, train or ferry in the initial days and weeks of daylight saving.

In some areas of China, businesses, schools and government offices started and finished an hour later by the clock, meaning that everything happened at the same real time as before. Many people preferred to start an hour earlier in the warmer months without changing the clock. The power shortage problem wasn’t resolved and in 1991 drought and heat led to an increase in power outages and in the number of complaints about the electricity supply and daylight saving. The scheme was discontinued after the end of the 1991 summer time period. Energy consumption has soared in more recent years and fuel shortages remain a problem, as does the level of carbon emissions.

In Hong Kong, the Chamber of Commerce was opposed to daylight saving in 1932. By 1936, the media favoured the idea and the governor of the colony came out in support of it in the Legislative Council on 2 December suggesting an extra half an hour of daylight after work all year, but the proposal went no further. The colony had three months of daylight saving via the Hong Kong Daylight-Saving Regulations 1941 under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts 1939 and 1940, with clocks put forward one hour. Japan Standard Time, which was one hour 23 minutes ahead of Hong Kong local time, was used from 1942 to 1945.

The Summer Time Bill 1946, introduced into the Council on 27 August, aimed to formalise the process of daylight saving that had started on 20 April and would enable the governor to approve it in future years. The bill quickly passed the other stages on 5 September and became the Summer Time Ordinance. Hong Kong had daylight saving each year until 1976. Arguments against the measure included the need to adjust timepieces twice a year, the preference of some people for an extra hour of light in the morning, and difficulties for airline schedules. The government dropped daylight saving for 1977 and a survey found that most people wanted standard time all year. Summer time returned briefly in 1979 due to the second oil crisis.

According to the Macau Official Gazette, [2] Macau had summer time in years 1946 to 1948, 1951 to 1976 and 1979. A notice in the form of a decree was printed in the weekly gazette each time Macau started or finished daylight saving. The reason for the last year of summer time in 1979 was the same as that for Hong Kong. Most other sources state, evidently incorrectly, that Macau had daylight saving between 1961 and 1980.

Taiwan was another area on Japan Standard Time during World War II, until 21 September 1945, and had daylight saving postwar in the years 1946 to 1961, 1974, 1975 and 1979. It was called summer time from 1946 to 1951, daylight saving time from 1952 to 1956, summer time from 1957 to 1961, and daylight saving time in the 1970s.”

[1] “Fuel saving throws off China’s timing”, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, United States, 4 May 1986, at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1986-05-04/news/8602010127_1_daylight-summer-time-saving

[2] “Summer Time”, Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, 2014, at http://www.smg.gov.mo/smg/geophysics/e_t_Summer%20Time.htm

The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy is available at Amazon, Kobo Books, Apple and Google.

DST book cover