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Chinese headmaster 'suspended' after students forced to take exam outdoors in heavy smog

Schools have been closed under China's 'red alert' warning, but the headteacher did not want to cancel the planned exams

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 21 December 2016 20:15 GMT
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Dense smog has smothered much of China for the last five days
Dense smog has smothered much of China for the last five days (Reuters)

A Chinese headmaster has reportedly been suspended in China after more than 400 students were forced to sit an exam outdoors in heavy smog.

Dense smog has smothered much of China for the last five days, and schools, factories and highways have been closed in attempts to improve air quality.

The five day "red alert" warning, the highest level in China's four-tiered warning system, affects 460 million people, according to calculations from Greenpeace East Asia.

However, local media reports said that although the school in Linzhou, Hanan province, was closed due to the red alert, the headmaster did not want to cancel the planned exams.

Around 480 students from the Number One Middle School reportedly sat English, maths, Chinese and PE exams in the smog.

Images posted on social media showed rows of students working at exam tables on a sports field.

The headteacher has since been suspended, The Straits Times reports.

The smog may finally clear soon, forecasters have said.

The news will come as a relief to hundreds of millions of people breathing dangerously polluted air and struggling under the government's emergency measures.

China has long had some of the worst air in the world, blamed on its reliance on coal and a surplus of older, less efficient cars.

It has set pollution reduction goals, but also has plans to increase coal mining capacity and eased caps on production when faced with rising energy prices.

Additional reporting by agencies

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