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Chinese factories shut down as drought hurts hydropower

Beijing: Factories in China's southwest have shut down after reservoirs used to generate hydropower ran low in a worsening drought, adding to economic strains at a time when President Xi Jinping is trying to extend his position in power.

Companies in Sichuan province including makers of solar panels, cement and urea closed or reduced production after they were ordered to ration power for up to five days, according to news reports Wednesday. That came after reservoir levels fell and power demand for air conditioning surged in scorching temperatures.

Leave power for the people, said an order from the provincial government dated Tuesday. The shutdowns add to challenges for the ruling Communist Party as Xi, the country's most powerful leader in decades, prepares to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader at a meeting in October or November.

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