Posted by: JohnnyRook | August 9, 2008

Shhh! Beijing’s polluted, but don’t tell anybody, OK?

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Chinese government has ordered a British research group associated with the European Space Agency to shut down it’s web site. Apparently, the British group was publishing data that differed from official Chinese government data.

At first [the web site] was freely accessible, but after earlier complaints by the Chinese authorities, it was restricted to users by password only.

But on Friday, the day of the opening ceremony, the quarter of Beijing in which the Olympic Green is situated was coloured green on the map, marking an air pollution index (API) of 101-150. The government’s safe limit is 100, and the city authorities’ figures put the API at 95.

The reason for the “green” colour was high levels of particulates, known as PM10. Again, while the online map gave a fail for the Olympic Green, the figures for the nearest monitoring station in Beijing showed a pass.

Later on Friday afternoon, subscribers to the website received an email saying the site would no longer be visible by password.

One of the things the Bush administration and the Chinese government have in common is their belief that if you can hide something it’s not real. Politics as solipsism.

View of Beijing January 20, 2008

Beijing, January 20, 2008

Welcome to the Beijing Olympics. Here are you’re rose-colored glasses. If you’re American, you probably already own a pair.

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