So it turns out the dementors were roaming around yesterday because President Hu Jintao was on campus. Something to do with PKU's 110th anniversary.
I also have my suspicions that the Chinese government seeded the clouds yesterday to make it rain and wash out the air before the celebrations today. Today the skies were blue (bluest in the morning, gradually graying as the day went on...) and visibility was high, unobscured by the usual smog. There was the matter of poplar fluff still, but overall the campus was quite pleasant for the visit of many thousands of visitors, including foreign university presidents and chancellors being transported in black Audis.
I attended some celebrations on Friday to commemorate the 110th anniversary. They were very much like the New Year's celebrations broadcast every year on CCTV. A good amount of singing, dancing, and recitation.
One act/skit was dedicated to Deng Xiaoping. I was informed that Chinese people like him because he got Hong Kong back for China. I was also informed that the next leader who can get Taiwan back for China will be very much liked. Dot dot dot.
Another act/skit celebrated the Lifeline Express, and the PKU graduates who work with the Lifeline Express to offer eyecare to Tibetans. There was a whole elaborate dance, highlighting a Tibetan woman's everlasting gratitude to the Lifeline Express for giving her eyesight.
Pictures and video to come :)