On the one hand:
Most of the armed conflicts in eastern China over the past 1,000 years were triggered by food shortages caused by climate, say researchers.
The finding lends weight to the idea that future climate change, resulting in water and food shortages, might have similar effects, says Earth scientist David Zhang, of the University of Hong Kong.
…Zhang, however, believes that the strife-inducing effect of cold weather was probably not confined to China. “In the coldest period of the Little Ice Age, we can find the general crisis of the seventeenth century in Europe, Japan, Korea and the Ottoman Empire,” he says.
On the other hand….
…[A] group of farmers on the outskirts of Beijing gather in the Fragrant Hills that line the western fringe of China’s capital city. Unlike their ancestors, they do not assemble to perform a rain dance or gather in a temple to pray to the Lord Buddha to bring the rain.
Instead, they grab rocket launchers and a 37-millimeter anti-aircraft gun and begin shooting into the sky. What they launch are not bullets or missiles but chemical pellets. Their targets are not enemy aggressors but wisps of passing cloud that they aim to “seed” with silver-iodide particles around which moisture can then collect and become heavy enough to fall.
The farmers are part of the biggest rain-making force in the world: China’s Weather Modification Program.