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Chinese Government Asked Owner of App Showing Pollution Index to “Fix” It

Radio Free Asia (RFA) and the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily each reported recently that the Chinese environmental protection agency asked the owner of the mobile app “Air Matters” to “fix” the app so that it will not display the air pollution index numbers once they reach a certain level. The app displays air pollution index values based on officially released government data. However, the app did make it significantly easier for average citizens to obtain pollution level information. The app uses Chinese standard measures to display the data and it is also capable of interpreting the data using other standards such as the U.S., the British, and even the Indian standards. The Chinese authorities have been saying that it is “obviously unreasonable” to use a foreign standard to measure Chinese data. The event triggered a massive discussion online among Chinese netizens. Most posted comments such as, “The government is unable to fix the smog pollution over a long period of time; however, it can fix the app writer’s <ability> to show the pollution level very swiftly.” The government has subsequently also blocked any comments on this news.

Radio Free Asia, January 9, 2017
Apple Daily, January 8, 2017