Thanks to the US Embassy, Beijingers now know how toxic the air over their capital can be. Yesterday, the Embassy’s Air Quality Index, using North American standards, reported an ohmygosh reading of 755 at 8 pm. The World Health Organization deems a score above 500, to be more than 20 times the level of airborne particulate matter considered safe.
According to the New York Times, residents described the air as “post-apocalyptic”, “terrifying”, and “beyond belief.” The American Embassy’s pollution measuring machine (which, according to a spokesman, was functioning perfectly) and its Twitter feed are unpopular among Chinese officials. In 2009, a Chinese Foreign Ministry officlal, Wang Shu’ai told the Americans to halt the Twitter feed, saying it “is not only confusing, but also insulting.” (WikiLeaks)