Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When is a blue sky not blue?

When the Beijing government announces it as a "blue sky" day, apparently. Caixin reports that a Beijing girl named Lu Weiwei took photos of the sky every day from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010 and counted 180 days in which there was actually a blue sky. Meanwhile, the official statistic was 285. The Beijing Bureau of Environmental Protection explained that "blue sky" means air quality has attained a certain level, not that the sky is actually blue. Silly me.

Maybe blue skies are overrated, anyway. As I write this in Beijing, the sky is blue. The air quality monitor on the roof of the US Embassy, however, rates the air quality as "unhealthy." (This means "Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.") There are three levels better than this and only two levels worse: "very unhealthy" and "hazardous".

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