China plans emergency measures to control Beijing air pollution
BEIJING (REUTERS) - Beijing is to unveil unprecedented new rules governing how China's capital reacts to hazardous air pollution, the official Xinhua news agency said, as deteriorating air quality threatens to become a rallying point for wider political dissatisfaction.
The rules will formalise previous ad-hoc measures, including shutting down factories, cutting back on burning coal and taking certain vehicle classes off the roads on days when pollution hits unacceptable levels.
Air quality in Beijing, on many days degrees of magnitude below minimum international health standards for breathability, is of increasing concern to China's leadership because it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world's second-largest economy.
Domestic media have run stories describing the expensive air purifiers government officials enjoy in their homes and offices, alongside reports of special organic farms so cadres need not risk suffering from recurring food safety scandals.