Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Air Pollution Data From US Embassy Blocked During APEC Meeting

On October 10, 2014, the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “Beijing to Keep the Lid on Air Pollution for APEC.” Some excerpts:
Beijing plans to keep a tight rein on pollution by cutting emissions caused by industrial production and vehicles when it hosts the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November.
. . . .
From November 3 to 12, the city will restrict the use of private vehicles based on even- and odd-numbered license plates, reducing the use of such vehicles by 35 percent, the municipal traffic committee said on Thursday.
On November 13, 2014, the China Daily published an article entitled “Beijing Authorities Release Pollution Data for APEC Week.” Some excerpts:
Beijing environment authorities released air quality data on Thursday for the week of APEC, with PM 2.5 levels, a key indicator of air pollution, dropping dramatically.
Following a special air pollution control plan for APEC meetings, the city's daily PM 2.5 density fell to 43 micrograms per cubic meter between November 1 and November 12, a 55-percent reduction compared with the same period last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
. . . .
"Beijing had 11 days with good air quality, while only one day suffered from mild air pollution," said Fang Li, deputy head of the bureau.
This screenshot was posted on Twitter on November 11, 2014, and shows a notice that appeared on the China Air Quality mobile app produced by “Fresh-Ideas Studios.” The “source” in question was the US Embassy in Beijing.

This screenshot was taken on November 11, 2014, and shows that on that day the Beijing-Air website was not displaying any data from the US Embassy in Beijing, and instead told readers:
“Upon instruction from our superiors, this month the air quality data will take the information published by the Beijing Environmental Office as the standard. We wish the APEC summit members ample success!”

These screenshots were taken at the same time on November 16, 2014, and show the difference between the data reported by the US Embassy in Beijing (left) and the PRC government (right).