back to article China and US argue over smog tweets

The Chinese government wants the United States to can a popular Twitter feed set up by its Beijing embassy to monitor air pollution in the crowded capital, after launching an indirect attack claiming such readings were illegal. The US embassy’s @BeijingAir account is followed by over 20,000 people on Twitter and provides …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ratfox Silver badge

    Darn diplomatic immunity

    Not much they can do about it, can they? This is definitely a case where trying to escalate things would just attract attention to the issue.

    1. LarsG

      Lol or not

      The worlds two biggest polluters arguing over pollution, and still they stick two fingers up at the rest of us.

      If it wasn't such a serious issue I'd really laugh.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Lol or not

        "The worlds two biggest polluters...."

        Funny, I can't see any mention of India in there.

        1. KAMiKZ

          Re: Lol or not

          two biggest polluters. Sure. yeah. right

          pick out any 200 cities from each. then have a sniff at 20 random spots in each. you know there's no comparison.

          in fact, next time when traveling to the US, ask one of these Chinese immigrants what they like about their new country. they almsot uniformly inject "really clean air" in their answers.

          two biggest polluters. Sure. yeah. right.

  2. tkioz

    I'm having a hard time working how how they can call anything that happens inside the embassy illegal, isn't classed as sovereign American soil? Thus subject solely to U.S laws?

    Funny fight though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's because you've just assumed something that is not true.

      Embassies are not the territory of their owning nation and are NOT covered by rules of extraterritoriality. They belong to the nation that they are in and under that nations jurisdiction, but that nation cannot enter without permission, and a few other special privileges are in place.

      Plus, of course diplomats are expected to be... diplomatic; rather than active shit-stirrers, deliberately riling the local population against their government. Diplomats can be expelled and made persona non grata, regardless of their immunity from prosecution.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Vienna Convention this, internal meddling that

    Sorry, but I find that the US Government is not "meddling in internal affairs" at all. As long as the embassy is not plastering the walls of the city with publications on pollution, but confining its findings to Twitter, then China has nothing to say about it since they block the feed at the Great Firewall of Peking.

    As for not respecting the "spirit" of the Vienna Convention, come on, since when has any "spirit" of anything kept any country (US, China or otherwise) from doing anything ?

  4. Jeebus

    They should take this outside, or perhaps not.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Stop it now!

    What ever you do, dont subscribe to the Twitter feed, no, stop, you've been warned!

    Streisand effect much?

  6. DJ Smiley

    Nuclear Iran scientists requested to stop tweeting.... another servo fails.....

  7. nickpaton

    Pollution is Caused by the West's addiction to (Fake) Chinese Goods

    Rather than looking at how or who is monitoring the pollution levels, surely we need to ask why the pollution is being caused in the first place.

    Most well known household brands filling the shop shelves are manufactured in China; simple argument - Chinese manufacture is cheaper than UK / Europe.

    Fake grey imports from China continue to flood every western market area; not only do they deprive the original manufacturers of the income that is rightly theirs (even if they had them made in China in the first place - ooh the irony!), but they are mostly poorly manufactured, non compliant and just plain dangerous, and yet we continue to choose to buy them at the knock down prices we all demand.

    Of even greater concern are items we think are genuine but turn out to be anything but. My own area is IT electronics and we recently suffered from being sold fake Graphics Chips, despite us carrying out extensive research (in as far as one can!) on the Chinese sellers. The fact that they were fake only came to light after post-fitting testing, and even then it was impossible to visually identify them as fake.

    The electronic component market is so extensive flooded with fakes that I'm now almost afraid of buying from even well known electronics distributors, since it's not unknown for their shelves to be unwittingly filled with fake components.

    In summary, if the west chose not to buy goods manufactured in China, and manufacturers chose not to have their goods made in China, then this must surely result in reduced pollution? The problem is that we demand ever lower prices to feed our "Goods Addiction" for the latest and best, so in my book that makes us partially complicit in China's pollution.

    I realise I'm whistling in the wind, and we can only hope that Chinese manufacturing overheads continue to rise and will lead to manufacturing returning to the West.

  8. Long Fei


    Actually quite a few Chinese have apps on their phones that show the US embassy readings. I do (currently a relatively reasonable (for here) 118).

    @Nickpaton: You're joking right? If manufacturing moves anywhere, it won't be back west. People will just find another place that's cheap. Maybe Africa or the like. Also, it may be fake goods they make, but the chances are the fakes are made on the same production line as the real ones, just on a 'dark shift'.

    1. KAMiKZ

      Re: Feed

      I was actually hoping some of us will start some sort of manufacture proxying service in the West, something like you tell me in a rough sketch what you want to make, then I find the proper network of factories in multiple countries that doesn't include China so to weaken their exports. According to The Economist, their exports are actually not accounting as much of their income as most people thing, only 13%, their main bacon is investment. But where they first get the $ to invest in something? exports. -- If we can do the proxying mentioned and toss them out of these investments, without the "fledging" economy, they can't bark as loud

  9. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    "It also argues that the US embassy reading from one location in a city of over 6,400 square miles cannot be entirely accurate."

    Yes, actual pollution could be much worse than the US Embassy readings.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Sir

      "It also argues that the US embassy reading from one location in a city of over 6,400 square miles cannot be entirely accurate."

      That's the same kind of argument climate skeptics deploy - casting doubt on the observations to argue that uncertainty means there's no issue. As you correctly point out, uncertainty goes in two directions.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Sir

        I think you might be confusing skeptics with deniers.

        Personally I'm not skeptical about climate change, I mean it changes every 5 minutes in this country so it seems obvious.

        What I'm skeptical about is man-made climate change, at least as far as to the extent of it - and this is because I haven't seen any conclusive evidence yet, nothing to do with wanting to accepting or not accepting spot readings that support one view over another based on personal bias.

        I believe there is an issue, just not yet convinced that it is all because I make a cup of coffee in the evening that's all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sir

          It doesn't matter if it's man-made or not if it's going to fuck us though, does it?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Sir

            I agree. I would much rather see some proper planning for what is most probably inevitable than all this squabbling.

  10. Gordon Pryra

    Beijing will have the last laugh.

    When the Chinese embassy releases the figures Americas pollution rises to when they stop making their stuff for them.

  11. Dan Paul

    US Embassy within it's rights to report Air Quality

    The US Embassy is within it's rights to report local air quality as they have a responsibility to those stationed there to let them know how bad it is. Technically, all of those embassy employees have to be advised on all health and safety issues per OSHA regulations.

    Too bad the Chinese can't see fit to fix these pollution problems. With all the money they have, they could use the environmental cleanup of their factories and power plants as a kind of stimulus with added benefits. At least they would not have to shutdown their industry so they could have the Olympics like last time.

    Unfortunately, I don't believe that the Chinese want to do anything to help increase the lifespan of their citizens. That's not in their best interest.

    As far as who is the worst polluter, the USA or China; perhaps the USA for overall gas quantity but all of those gases have been scrubbed of most smog causing components as well as particulates. The US does not suffer even close to the water and air pollution that China does.

    On the other hand, China is like London was during the 1800's with killer smogs. That does not happen in the USA any longer.

  12. hi_robb


    Is this what's known as micro smogging..

    /gets coat

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm..

      Not to be confused with micro snogging, which is entirely different.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019