China warns US Embassy to stop reporting Beijing pollution
Tuesday 05 June 2012
China has warned foreign embassies to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in the country, escalating its objections to a US Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in Beijing.
Only the Chinese government is authorised to monitor and publish air quality information, and data from other sources may not be standardised or rigorous, Wu Xiaoqing, a vice environmental minister, told reporters.
China has long taken issue with the US Embassy's postings of hourly readings of Beijing's air quality on a Twitter feed with more than 19,000 followers since 2008, but its past objections were raised quietly.
US Embassy officials did not immediately comment, but the Twitter feed was operating normally. Its readings are based on a single monitoring station within embassy grounds, and pollution levels are rated according to a US Environmental Protection Agency standard that is more stringent than the one used by the Chinese government.
Beijing is frequently cloaked in a yellow haze, with buildings a couple of blocks away barely visible, but Beijing's official air quality index records the pollution as "light" - a reading without a numerical comparison and at odds with what many people experience.
Earlier this year, the Beijing government began reporting PM2.5 - particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in size - about a 30th of the width of an average human hair - after long-standing public and international criticism that Chinese standards were insufficient.
The US Embassy reported 47 micrograms of fine particulate matter in the air today and said the level was "unhealthy for sensitive groups". Readings from Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau's 27 monitoring stations ranged between 51 to 79 micrograms, with all those levels categorised as "good".
Beijing has monitored particulate matter for years but only began releasing the results earlier this year in response to public anger over the government's lack of transparency.
The government appears frustrated that there are now duelling readings for air quality and that the US readings underscore the fact that pollution levels considered unhealthy in the US are classified as good by China.
Mr Wu said it is not fair to judge Chinese air by American standards because China is a developing country and noted that US environmental guidelines have become more stringent over time.
The standard China uses "takes into account the level of our current stage of development", he said.
Mr Wu also said that air quality monitoring by foreign diplomats was inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and urged diplomats to abide by China's laws and regulations.
South Korea ferry: Sewol captain says he is 'sorry to the people of South Korea' and that he delayed evacuating ship in case passengers 'drifted away'
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Kingdom Tower: Construction of 1km high new world’s tallest building to begin next week in Saudi Arabia
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...