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China Asks Foreign Governments to Stop Broadcasting Air Quality Data

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Published on Jun 5, 2012

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The Chinese regime is asking foreign governments to stop broadcasting air quality data in China. It calls the data "unscientific and unrepresentative" of large areas. The figures also differ significantly from data collected by the Chinese regime. Here's more.

On Tuesday the Chinese regime asked foreign embassies to stop broadcasting air pollution data in Chinese cities.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin addresses the issue at a news briefing.

[Liu Weimin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman]:
"In accordance with Chinese law, such information should be released by competent authorities. And the release of such information should be scientific and representative of a large area instead of some specific spots. This kind of information is not accurate and not the standard."

The competent authority he refers to is the Chinese government, who publishes its own data on air quality in China. The comment is widely believed to be aimed at the US embassy in Beijing that publishes its own air quality data. Figures between the two records often differ significantly.

Professor of Atmospheric Science, Xu Guangrong says he thinks the US Embassy readings are more believable.

[Xu Guangrong, Atmospheric Science Professor, Taiwan National University]:
"I believe the US in this aspect. I do not think they will deliberately exaggerate the data. I think they put air-monitoring stations in their embassy due to concerns over the pollution effects on US nationals. I think the data from the US Embassy in China is more accurate."

While the embassy may offer data for the benefit of US nationals, it does not claim to monitor the air quality in all of Beijing. A disclaimer on the embassy website says, "This monitor is a resource for the health of the Mission community. Citywide analysis cannot be done, however, on data from a lone machine."

Since 2008 the Beijing-based US embassy has taken hourly assessments of the compound's air quality. It publishes the results via a twitter feed, which has well over nineteen thousand followers.

This is the first public statement that the Foreign Ministry has given to foreign governments regarding the release of air pollution data.

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