From Oct 7 to Oct 11, Beijing suffered five days of intense haze. A large portion of Northern China was also the victim of haze. In many places, the visibility was below 1 km (0.6 mile). Sometimes it was even below 500 meters (0.3 mile).
The Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported that, in order to create a clean sky during the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing, "employees of government departments, quasi-government institutions, and organizations in Beijing will be granted a six-day holiday starting on November 7 and continuing through November 12." "The meeting will be held on November 10 and 11. The ministers of 21 Pacific-rim governments will meet from November 7."
People’s Daily published an article stating that China’s current smog treatment is ineffective. There have been many theories on the cause of the smog, but no one knows exactly which one is the real culprit. On the simpler pollution treatment issue, local governments are not synchronized. The central government has established a coordination mechanism with six provinces/autonomous regions/cities to treat the air pollution. It includes Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia. However, different local government have different regulations. For example, Hebei’s fine for pollution discharge is only 20 or 30 percent of the amount of fines in Beijing. Some companies would rather move to Hebei to pay the penalty than spend money to treat the pollution.
The local environmental protection agencies do not have enough power to enforce pollution treatment regulations. Many big pollution offenders also contribute a substantial amount of taxes to local governments. As a result, the local governments protect them.
1. South China Morning Post Online, October 10, 2014
2. People’s Daily Online, October 10, 2014