|The air quality in China is good today.|
The official air quality report from the Communist Chinese propaganda machine tells the people of Beijing that the air is just fine.
Communism in Action
The phony Environmentalists and Leftists of the world are silent as the Communist Chinese destroy the environment.
Perched atop the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is a device about the size of a microwave oven that spits out hourly rebukes to the Chinese government.
It is a machine that monitors fine particulate matter, one of the most dangerous components of air pollution, and instantly posts the results to Twitter and a dedicated iPhone application, where it is frequently picked up by Chinese bloggers.
One day this month, the reading was so high compared with the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it was listed as "beyond index." In other words, it had soared right off the chart.
"You couldn't get such a high level in the United States unless you were downwind from a forest fire," said Dane Westerdahl, an air quality expert from Cornell University.
But China's own assessment that day, Oct. 9, was that Beijing's air was merely "slightly polluted."
|My official air quality report says the|
air is excellent today.
Diplomatic cables released this year through WikiLeaks reveal that the Chinese government has asked the U.S. Embassy to stop publishing its data, which is posted hourly on Twitter at @beijingair, an account that has 9,200 followers.
In July 2009, a Foreign Ministry official complained that because the U.S. data conflicted with China's, they were causing "confusion" and undesirable "social consequences."
The embassy installed its monitor in 2008 before the Olympics to advise its personnel about air quality, but then decided it should make readings public under diplomatic rules that require that information regarding health and security risks be made available.
The measurements drew widespread attention last November, the first time a reading for fine particulate matter went above 500 micrograms per cubic meter, about seven times the U.S. standard for "acceptable" air quality.
The embassy ended up reporting that off-the-charts reading as "crazy bad." (Embassy officials say a computer programmer with a sense of humor embedded the language in the program linking the monitor to Twitter without realizing it would ever get used.)
The embassy quickly deleted the tweet and replaced it with "beyond index," but the fanciful description stuck in the imagination.
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