The EMPEROR has NO LUNGS!

The EMPEROR has NO LUNGS!

Posted in the China Forum

CHINA HUMILIATED by CCP

Port Moody, Canada

#1 Jan 15, 2013
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788...

REVIEW & OUTLOOK Updated January 14, 2013,

The Emperor Has No Lungs
Beijing's atrocious air makes the case for political reform.

When Beijing city authorities say the air is hazardous and advise people to stay indoors, you know it's serious. After years of denying the obvious, officials issued their first ever "orange alert" health warning for smog on Sunday. But a one-time admission doesn't mean the end of cover-ups or the beginning of a government push to correct the problem.

The Beijing government expanded its air monitoring a year ago, a small concession to public demands for greater transparency. The numbers released over the last five days have been shocking. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that at several monitoring stations the concentrations of particles below 2.5 microns in diameter—the most dangerous kind—exceeded 700 micrograms per square meter. For context, the World Health Organization specifies a PM2.5 level of 25 micrograms per square meter as the safe limit. When the level rises above 300, children and the elderly should not go outside.

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CHINA HUMILIATED by CCP

Port Moody, Canada

#2 Jan 15, 2013
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The Forbidden City on Sunday in Beijing
This isn't the first time that Beijing has wheezed through smoke similar to that produced by a forest fire. For years, the U.S. Embassy has provided the most reliable indication of the true state of air pollution in the Chinese capital, hourly tweeting the results from a monitoring station on the chancery's roof.

The Embassy's PM2.5 reading first went above 500 in 2006, when the automated Twitter feed labeled air quality "crazy bad." The flippant term, now replaced with "beyond index," suggests that whoever set up the program never thought it could happen. Now 500 is almost routine, and on Sunday it hit 886 thanks to winter weather and lack of wind combined with the usual heavy pollution.

The governments of Beijing and other cities long concealed the extent of air pollution with a variety of fudges, such as altering the indices and moving monitoring stations around. That protected state-owned heavy industries that work hand-in-glove with local officials. Now the problem has grown to the point that it can't be denied. Beijing wasn't even in the top 10 Chinese cities for air pollution this past week, with Shijiazhuang being the worst.

So action must be imminent, right? Remember, we're talking about China. Yes, factories are being told to scale back production and official work units are not using their cars this week. Some longer-term measures may be mooted. But as the SARS crisis in 2003 showed, failed cover-ups are usually followed by new cover-ups, and once public attention shifts, official follow-through is lacking.

One virtue of democracy is that it forces governments to be accountable on such basic issues as public health. The U.S. and other developed nations have had pollution problems, though rarely as bad as China's. Yet the political system responded, often imperfectly and by imposing more costs than necessary, but enough to clear the air.

Without open government and accountability, Beijing's air can always get crazier. What will it take for officials to declare a red alert?
CHINA HUMILIATED by CCP

Port Moody, Canada

#3 Jan 15, 2013
Check out these photos!

It's hard to believe people LIVE IN SUCH FILTH!

Photos
NASA Satellite Image Shows Beijing Drowning in a Lake of Smog
John Metcalfe 9:00 AM ET 4 Comments NASA/NOAA

Even from the remote reaches of space, you can almost feel your bronchial trees heaving and dying when looking at this view of China's enduring air pollution. Taken on Sunday by the Suomi NPP satellite, the image above shows a titanic cloak of smog that has settled over the country, turning streetscapes into ghostly gray-outs of choking particulate matter.

Pollution from cars and coal plants are simply not going anywhere, thanks to windless cold weather that's slammed an atmospheric lid onto eastern China. The result has been escalating levels of teeny particles in the air that can infiltrate human airways and even the blood supply with disastrous results for health.

How bad is it? The U.S. considers air with miniscule particles above 100 micrograms per cubic meter as "unsafe." This weekend, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing logged concentrations almost as high as 900 micrograms. As many as 33 cities had "hazardous" air during the weekend, according to Chinese media, leading to crushes of people seeking medical help for breathing problems and a booming market for face masks.

Chinese officials' response to the air-pollution crisis has been quick and decisive. Stay indoors! they say. Dozens of construction sites have shut down to help diminish the foul cloud. So far, the situation has not approached the direness of the weather-related smogmageddon of October 2010. An ocean of cottony air reduced visibility to as little as 330 feet in places, leading to a rash of traffic accidents that wound up killing at least 32 people.(See a satellite image of those conditions here.)

On Monday, Reuters photog Jason Lee traveled through Beijing snapping shots of the congee-like fog sloshing over the roads. Here are some of the lugubrious scenes he witnessed, beginning with Beijing's central business district (FYI, he's not shooting in black and white):



This is either the China Central Television building or a screen grab from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner:



It's snowing in Beijing! Wait, no, that's just really nasty pollution:



A cigarette, in this weather? Might as well, as breathing the air in Beijing for a month is equivalent to smoking five of them:



Part of the reason there's smog in the first place is massive amounts of traffic, like this crawling car party on the Third Ring Road:

Top image from NASA/NOAA. Beijing photos courtesy of Jason Lee at Reuters.
CHINA HUMILIATED by CCP

Port Moody, Canada

#4 Jan 15, 2013
The REAL PROBLEM:

"
One virtue of democracy is that it forces governments to be accountable on such basic issues as public health. The U.S. and other developed nations have had pollution problems, though rarely as bad as China's. Yet the political system responded, often imperfectly and by imposing more costs than necessary, but enough to clear the air.

Without open government and accountability, Beijing's air can always get crazier. What will it take for officials to declare a red alert?"
CHINA HUMILIATED by CCP

Surrey, Canada

#5 Jan 23, 2013
A spokesmonkey for the Chinese Communist Party regime said today in Beijing:

"Cough, cough! Choke! Hack! Cough, cough! Horrrk!"

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