The time in
China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00
(eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time), despite China
spanning five geographical time zones. The official national standard
time is called
Beijing Time (Chinese: 北京时间) domestically 
China Standard Time (CST) internationally. Daylight saving time
has not been observed since 1991.
The special administrative regions (SARs) maintain their own time
authorities, with standards called
Hong Kong Time
Hong Kong Time (香港時間) and
Macau Standard Time (澳門標準時間). These have been equivalent
Beijing time since 1992.
In addition, it has been proposed during 2005's NPC & CPPCC of
China that provinces in the west (such as Shaanxi, Sichuan, and
Chongqing) should use the time offset of UTC+07:00. However, this
proposal has not been voted upon yet.
3 Regions with special time regulations
3.2 Hong Kong
4 IANA time zone database
4.1 Backward compatibility zone
5 See also
7 External links
Main article: Historical time zones of China
In the 1870s, the Shanghai Xujiahui Observatory was constructed by a
French catholic missionary. In 1880s officials in Shanghai French
Concession started to provide a time announcement service using the
Shanghai Mean Solar Time provided by the aforementioned observatory
for ships into and out of Shanghai. By the end of 19th century, the
time standard provided by the observatory had been switched to
GMT+8. The practice has spread to other coastal ports, and in 1902
the "Coastal Time" was proposed to be the universal timezone for all
the coastal ports in China. However, the timezone for the rest of
China remained undetermined.
Until 1913, the official time standard for the whole of
still the apparent solar time of Beijing, the capital of the country
at the time. Starting in 1914, the Republic of
China government began
Beijing Local Mean Solar Time as the official time
standard. By 1918, five standard time zones had been proposed by the
Central Observatory of
Beiyang government of Republic of China,
Kunlun (UTC+05:30), Sinkiang-Tibet (UTC+06:00),
Kansu-Szechwan (UTC+07:00), Chungyuan (UTC+08:00), and Changpai
The 1947 version timezone assignment
After the defeat of
Beiyang government in 1928, the mission of the
Central Observatory was moved to Nanjing, and the reference time
standard used for the construction of traditional
Chinese Calendar was
Beijing Mean Solar Time to GMT+8.
In 1930s, the proposed five timezones had not been fully observed,
causing regions in inner
China area to adopt their own time standards,
resulting in chaos. On 9 March 1939, when the Ministry of the Interior
organized a Standard Time Conference in Chongqing, it was decided to
adopt the five timezone proposal with slight modification of their
borders starting from 1 June, however it was also decided that the
entire country would use the Kansu-Szechwan Time (GMT+7) during the
Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War which began at the time.
Following the end of World War II, the five-timezone system was
resumed, although there is little information about the historical
usage of time in the
Changpai zones. A further refined
system with adjustment to zone assignment in the Northwest part of
Gansu was announced in 1947 for adoption in 1948. However, as the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War came to its end in 1949-1950, regional governments
under the influence of Communist Party of China, other than those in
Xinjiang and Tibet, switched to use the same time as Beijing, which is
GMT+8, and is later known as
Beijing Time or
China Standard Time.
There are two independent sources that claim the Communist Party of
China, and/or the People's Republic of China, were using apparent
solar time for
Beijing Time before the period between 27 September
1949 and 6 October 1949, and they adopted the time of GMT+8 within
that period of time, however such claim is dubious.
The change in use of time in Tibet is undocumented but is known to use
till at least mid-1950s, and the use of time in
Xinjiang have been
switched back and forth between GMT+6 and GMT+8 during the period of
1969 and 1986 and resulted in the current multiple time standard
situation in the area. (see "Xinjiang" section below for detail)
Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time was observed from 1945 to 1948, and from 1986 to
In 1997 and 1999,
Hong Kong and
Macau were transferred to
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
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:
09:41 – 19:49
07:40 – 21:50
06:54 – 15:18
03:05 – 19:08
Regions with special time regulations
Map of Xinjiang, together with rest of China
In Xinjiang, two time standards, namely,
Beijing Time and Xinjiang
Time, are used in parallel.
Xinjiang Time, also 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. The
time offset is UTC+06:00, which is two hours behind Beijing, and is
shared with neighbouring
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Currently, timezone usage within
Xinjiang is roughly split along the
ethnic divide, with most ethnic Han following
Beijing time and most
Uyghurs following Ürümqi Time.[unreliable source?] Some
local authorities are now using both time standards side by
side. Television stations schedule programmes in different
time standards according to their nature.
The coexistence of two timezones within the same region causes some
confusion among the local population, especially when inter-racial
communication occurs. When a time is mentioned in conversation between
Han and Uyghur, it is necessary to either explicitly make clear
whether the time is in
Xinjiang Time or
Beijing Time, or convert the
time according to the ethnicity of the other party. The
double time standard is particularly observable in Xinjiang
Television, which schedules its Chinese channel according to Beijing
time and its Uyghur and Kazakh channels according to
Beijing Time users in
Xinjiang usually schedule their
daily activities two hours later than those who live in eastern China.
As such, stores and offices in
Xinjiang are commonly open from 10am to
Beijing Time, which equals 8am to 5pm in Ürümqi Time. This
is known as the work/rest time in Xinjiang.
In most areas of Xinjiang, the opening time of local authorities is
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 intense heat
during noon time in the area during summer.
Hong Kong Time
Hong Kong maintains its own time authority after transfer of
sovereignty in 1997. The
Hong Kong Time
Hong Kong Time (Chinese: 香港時間;
pinyin: Xiānggǎng Shíjiān; Cantonese Yale: Hēunggóng sìgaan) is
UTC+08:00 all year round, and daylight saving time has not been used
Greenwich Mean Time
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 maintains its own time authority after transfer of sovereignty
in 1999. The
Macau Standard Time (Chinese: 澳門標準時間;
pinyin: Àomén Biāozhǔn Shíjiān; Portuguese: Hora Oficial de
Macau) is the time in Macau. The time is UTC+08:00 all year round,
and daylight saving time has not been used since 1980.
IANA time zone database
The territory of the Peoples Republic of
China is covered in the IANA
time zone database by the following zones. The reason why
Asia/Shanghai is used instead of
Beijing is because Shanghai is the
most populous location in the zone.
Columns marked with * are from the file zone.tab of the database.
Backward compatibility zone
The following zones, including Asia/Kashgar, Asia/Chongqing, and
Asia/Harbin, are kept in the "backzone" file of the IANA timezone
database for backward compatibility.
linked back to Asia/Shanghai
linked back to Asia/Shanghai
linked back to Asia/Ürümqi
Historical time zones of China
Hong Kong Time
^ "时间的概念". 国家授时中心科普网站. Archived from the
original on 2012-10-16.
^ "CST –
China Standard Time (Time Zone Abbreviation)".
^ timeanddate.com, Daylight Saving Time in China
^ a b "冷知识："北京时间"的由来". 新华网. 2015-11-03.
^ a b c d e f g h i j 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]
China Historical Materials of Science and Technology (in
Chinese). 22 (3): 269–280. 1000-0798(2001)03-0269-12. Retrieved
^ ""北京时间"是怎么来的". 北京日报. 2015-10-28.
^ Guo, Qingsheng (2003) "
Beijing Time at the Beginning of PRC", China
Historical Materials of Science and Technology 24(1)
^ "NOAA Solar Calculator". NOAA. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2014.
Retrieved 12 October 2014.
^ "Bending Time in Xinjiang".
^ a b "作息时间". Archived from the original on 12 October
纽约时报中文网国际纵览. 17 June 2016.
^ "【城市】乌鲁木齐：没有屋顶的博物馆". 南方周末.
Archived from the original on 21 December 2016.
^ "Clocks square off in China's far west". Los Angeles Times. 31 March
^ "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 December 2011. Retrieved 26
July 2008. Urumqi Time (GMT+6) is 2 hours behind
^ timeanddate.com, Daylight Saving Time in Hong Kong
Macau Standard Time Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.,
Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau
^ "O SERVIÇO DE <<HORA EXACTA>> NA INTERNET". Smg.gov.mo.
Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March
^ timeanddate.com, Daylight Saving Time in Macau
^ Theory and pragmatics of the tz code and data
Government departments responsible for time services
National Time Service Center, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Hong Kong Observatory (Hong Kong)
Direccão dos Servicos Meteorológicos e Geofisicos (Macau)
China (outline) (2070–221 BCE)
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Years in the PRC
Northeast / North / Central Plains
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
Military (People's Liberation Army)
National People's Congress
Political parties and movements
Foreign aid received
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Science and technology
Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
Standard of living
ports and harbors
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Time in Asia
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