By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
Snow storms that have left hundreds of thousands of people stranded are also affecting the wider Chinese economy.
The weather has stopped coal supplies reaching the power stations
Factories have cut production, winter crops have been devastated, and homes and firms have been left without power.
Keeping the economy moving is now more of a priority than helping the legions of frustrated and freezing travellers, according to Chinese officials.
But the government does not expect any long-term economic fall-out from the current crisis.
China is experiencing some of the worst snow storms in half a century, mostly in central and southern provinces.
They have caused havoc for millions of people trying to get home for Chinese New Year, the most important holiday of the year.
At one point, there were 800,000 people stranded at the railway station in the southern city of Guangzhou.
But the unusually cold winter weather has also hit the economy.
Steel and aluminium mills have scaled back production because of a shortage of raw materials.
The snow has also hit crops, with reports that prices have been driven up in 11 provinces.
Telecom companies say the bad weather has disrupted services. Nearly 10,000km (6,200 miles) of fix-line networks have been affected.
Transport chaos has also hit the movement of China's most important energy source - coal.
It supplies more than 70% of China's energy needs.
If production falls, or supplies fail to get through to power stations, there will be even more power cuts.
Officials say that ensuring supplies get through is now the country's number one task - apparently more important than helping stranded passengers.
"All efforts must be made to ensure the supply of coal for power generation," said Zhu Hongren, of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited a coal mine in Shanxi Province to reinforce that message.
A huge backlog of passengers are waiting to board trains
Wearing a hard hat and work clothes, he chatted with miners before visiting a port that ships coal to the rest of China.
Speaking at a press conference about the crisis, Mr Zhu said the current problems were down to the unprecedented weather and not poor government planning.
"Such a severe disaster has not been seen in China for decades. The average temperature in southern China has never been as low as it is today," he said.
The government does not expect any lasting economic damage but there will certainly be a lot of short-term pain before the economy gets back on its feet.