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What does the "over" joint and what does "look down" mean here?

The weather in Beijing is less polluted than it was 10 years ago before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, but the boiling hot city over which the stormy August clouds look down has been transformed in the 10 years since that spectacular event.

Source: The Irish Times

  1. over which. I know it's a clause and takes the preposition to the front.
    It means "... clouds over the city"?

  2. What does "look down" mean?

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  1. Yes

  2. "look down" is in this case an example of personification, where an inanimate object is given human qualities or abilities.

The stormy August clouds look down on the city.

or

The steeples of this incredible basilica watch over the Wisconsin country side as they stand tall from a prestigious place on top of one of the highest points in the area.

2

The easier way to understand the sentence,

but the boiling hot city - stormy August clouds look down over it (the city) - has been transformed in the 10 years since that spectacular event.

All make sense.

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