Forget human rights, which will not, I promise you, get the man on the 5F dancefloor to lose his groove. Forget censorship, because who cares about cultural emasculation? Forget Zhou Yongkang, school stabbings, Diaoyu Islands, corruption, Sichuan earthquakes, shoddy construction. Take a lesson from the New York Times when it wants to link-bait: head over to the US embassy's Beijing air Twitter account and report the latest AQI, because nothing -- absolutely nothing -- unites the English-reading populace of China quite like bad air.
When it comes to toadying up to authority, you can’t beat foreign business. While smog comes and goes like a dissident in the night, its legacy lives on -- for example, in the missive below from Savills, the London-based real estate agency, which wins our coveted Beijing Cream Corporate Whore of the Month Award with “Twelve tricks to protect you from haze.”
Heavy smog couldn't deter runners of the annual "naked pigs run" in Beijing's Olympic Park on Sunday. According to China Daily, more than 300 participants -- "only allowed to wear underwear" -- partook in the event. (Clearly some people wore more than underwear, but let's let that be neither here nor there.) Some wore gas masks, making for interesting photos:
"The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city's natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises..."
-- lied The Daily Mail in an article last week
Just as the monthly nationwide freakout over Chinese air was winding down, Chinese Central Television had to go ahead and publish an article, since deleted, that lauded the "Five Surprising Benefits From China’s Haze." I really have nothing to add to a topic already covered by Tea Leaf Nation ("Although it may be satirical, the article reads more as a tin-eared attempt to wring an Upworthy.com-style listicle from a genuine environmental menace"), Time, etc., but I do want to share the below video, from The Onion, posted three years ago.
Shanghai, China’s financial hub, appears determined to compete with Beijing, China’s political epicenter, in every aspect, including pollution.
Starting Thursday, smog has shrouded Shanghai and nearby provinces, with PM2.5 readings shooting from 200 micrograms per cubic meter to as high as 700 at some air quality monitoring stations.
As of 1 pm Friday, the average PM2.5 reading in Shanghai reached an off-the-charts level of 602.5; the PM10 reading reached 671, with the highest reading recorded at 726 in Putuo district.
By now you surely know: Harbin in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, a city of 11 million, is blanketed in cancer-gray, toxic-smelling, blindingly thick smog. The AQI is over 500 and the PM2.5 measurement hit one thousand -- higher than it ever was during the worst of times in Beijing. Everything has closed down, from highways to airports to schools. Sinosphere and the Atlantic both have pictures and anecdotes. And AFP has this bit of funny:
This isn't too bizarre -- when else is one to get a chance to take a souvenir photo in front of a gigantic poster of the Hong Kong skyline? I mean, holy moly, everyone -- it's a gigantic photo of the Hong Kong skyline!
The concept is pretty simple — set tripod in front of Tiananmen every day throughout the Two Sessions; snap picture — but Wei Yao, the photographer for Beijing Review who got the shot you see above (along with this one), explains on Reuters’s Photographers Blog that it still took a lot of work: Having the... Read more »
While many spent yesterday morning squalling over Beijing's pollution (caused in part by this season's first sandstorm), an actual squall of sorts blew through this region, causing more damage. (Incidentally, it was this very wind that cleared out the pollution, so that in a matter of one hour, from 10 am to 11 am, the AQI dropped from 506 to 279, and by 4 pm, it was under 100, according to @BeijingAir.)
Soon to be an iPad app, surely. Via Marketplace: We wondered what other cities around the globe might look like under these pollution conditions, so we built a simple simulator to illustrate. Using side-by-side photos of Beijing to calibrate our not-so-scientific “obscurity filter,” we applied the tool to photos of some major cities around the globe. Let’s... Read more »