A (kind of) funny piece of news showed up yesterday, saying that the Chinese government is upset because the U.S. embassy is monitoring Beijing’s air pollution levels and is retransmitting them via Twitter.
Beijing is one of the most (if not the most) polluted cities in the world, and its citizens acknowledge that the official pollution readings issued by the government do not match the reality by far.
Going even further, Liu Weimin, the CHinese Forign Ministry official who issued the statement said that the embassy is breaching the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and that it is interfering with internal affairs.
“China’s air quality monitoring and information release involve the public interest and are up to the government. Foreign consulates in China taking it on themselves to monitor air quality and release the information online not only goes against the spirit of the Vienna Convention … it also contravenes relevant environmental protection rules.”
However, he mentioned that the readings can be used by the diplomatic staff, while his only objection is that they’re transmitted over the internet. He nevertheless acknowledged the precarious situation of air quality and river pollution in China.