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PHOTOS: Heavy Smog Chokes China

Both western media and Chinese media have been writing a lot about the record levels of smog in eastern China during the past week. Flights have been cancelled, schools have been delayed. 

On China’s social media, Weibo and WeChat users have been posting pictures of their shrouded cities and updating the air quality index. A depressing infographic with ways to beat the smog was circulated on Weibo on 4 December 2013.

Netizens post pictures of Shanghai's smog on WeChat

Netizens post photos of Shanghai's smog on WeChat

The suggestions read:

1 Wear a hat

2 Wear a mask

3 Wear long coat

4 Avoid outdoor activities

5 Wash your face and hands after being outside

6 Use your nose to breathe instead of your mouth

7 Clean your nose

8 Open windows at the right time

9 Sleep early

10 Drink lots of water

11 Avoid smoking

12 Eat lots of food containing crude fiber

While China’s government uses the weather and street BBQs as excuses for the hazy weather and shares common knowledge about how to beat the smog, outspoken TV show host Mengfei was brave enough to share [zh] his insights into the air pollution, a rare act at a time when Weibo has become a dangerous place for debate and opinions since the government’s crackdown on Big Vs. He shared the message through a screenshot to avoid being censored:

yuanyin

1 The smog is not only due to the weather, but environmental pollution, the government should shoulder the biggest responsibility.

2 Coal-fired power generation is the most significant source of air pollution and the hazy weather. But getting rid of it will slow down the GDP, so the local government is reluctant to do so.

3 Calling people to drive less to fight the air pollution is not nonsense, but it’s also a good way to distract people’s attention. America is a nation living on the automobile, how come they don’t have such hazy weather?

4 Those experts and officials who think street BBQs and cooking have increased the pollution are idiots. Fart is also pollution, why not put this on the list?

5 Government should take the biggest responsibility for the environmental disaster, when they say “everyone has responsibility”, they are trying to avoid their own responsibility.

The screenshot was reposted over 130,000 times and has triggered over 40,000 comments. Many netizens showed support.

Netizens post pictures of Shanghai's smog on WeChat

Netizens post pictures of Shanghai's smog on WeChat

Movie director Yangyi wrote [zh]:

面对空气污染,我们要做的不是带上面具,还是站起来说“不”。

Facing air pollution, what we should do is not wear a mask, but stand up and say no.

Another netizen “Du jingwei” called for energy restructuring: 

能源结构转型,提高工厂废气排放标准是唯一解决途径!

Energy restructuring, raising emission standards for coal-fired power plants is the only way to solve the problem!

However, some netizens blamed greater numbers of automobiles as the main reason for the air pollution. Journalist Jiang jing wrote on Weibo:

晚高峰时在街上堵着,就会发现北京的公共汽车很多都是空的或者乘客很少,跟北欧那些人口稀少的城市差不多。人们要么开车,要么坐地铁。没有鼓励绿色生活的政策,人们就会这样一边堵着,一边呼吸着毒气,一边骂政府过活。

During rush hours in the evening, you will find many buses in Beijing are empty or have few passengers, just like the cities in northern Europe with small populations. People either drive or take the subway. There's no policy to encourage green living, so people keep facing traffic jams while breathing in toxic gas and cursing the government.

Check out more photos from WeChat below:

The sign says: I want to breathe.

The sign reads, “I want to breathe”.

 

Shanghai's skyscrapers in smog

Shanghai's skyscrapers in smog

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