Mayor of Beijing Told to Fix the Smog or ‘Bring Your Head’
Mayor of Beijing Told to Fix the Smog or ‘Bring Your Head’

Air pollution is not just an environmental problem in China, but a dire political issue that was given strong focus at the national political meetings held in Beijing last week. Proposals for how to fix the smog choking Beijing were among the most mentioned topics, according to official Chinese reports. 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was widely quoted saying “We will declare war on pollution as we did on poverty.” The remark was a rehashed revolutionary slogan, meant to show that attacking pollution is a political priority for the Communist Party leadership.  

The pressure to fix the problem has fallen onto the shoulders of the Mayor of Beijing Wang Anshun, who was told earlier this year “to bring your head if the air conditions are not fixed by 2017,” according to a report by Oriental Outlook magazine, which is published under Xinhua, the official mouthpiece of the regime.

As one of the cities that is most severely polluted, Beijing will get up to $123 billion from the central authorities to fix the air over the next three years. Another $13.7 billion will be spent on fixing garbage and water pollution in Beijing. 

Severe smog has been a problem in China for years, and frequently dominates headlines and discussions in the country. There is especially severe pollution in Beijing because of the coal fired power plants and factories in surrounding Hebei Province. 

In just the first half of 2013, the amount of coal burned in Beijing reached 25 million tons, while Tianjin, near Beijing, burned 50 million tons of coal. Hebei Province churned through 300 million tons, according to Chinese press reports.

“The Chinese Communist Party has single-mindedly pursued the growth of GDP for many years,” said Sun Wenguang, a retired professor from Shandong University, in a telephone interview with Epoch Times. “The authorities have vigorously developed chemical industries, causing serious pollution, without considering the effect to people’s lives. Lung cancer cases have been on the rise.”

The Beijing city government said it would spend the budget on reducing coal consumption, limiting the number of cars on the road, and other measures to tackle the pollution and dust in the air. 

Details on the proposed spending have not been released, but it will accompany a list of stringent fines for polluting industries that break the rules. Some of the fines are up to $81,000. 

On March 1, the Beijing environmental protection bureau began conducting inspections of polluting industries in Beijing, and soon fined a heating company in Beijing $16,200. 

The most recent bout of smog in China was from Feb. 21 to 27, and was one of the worst periods in China for some time. Reports said that a seventh of China’s land mass was covered by severe smog, and that most major cities were blanketed with grimy pollution.

Huang Qing contributed reporting.

  • RockyFjord

    Ha ha! Funny stuff. I like the Chinese style of not mincing words! Just fix it or bring your head!
    Well, it has taken them long enough. Beijing is 40 million people, can anyone imagine, and many still heat and cook with coal. This is not a good way to organize the world. I would love
    to see a similar proposition made to the Japanese over Fukushima: Fix it or bring your heads!
    Kind of cuts through all the bull. I might tell Bill Gates and all the US oligarchs and Supreme Court the same. If the people would make me dictator for a little while, things would move fast to be fixed!

    • Robin S Summertown

      I am still working with them putting this on the Mayor only. Why is not also a priority for those with more power than a city Mayor? And why just his city, the entire country is in peril over the problems of pollution of many kinds.

      Then the thought arose, we keep hearing about how far ahead of the US they are when it comes to solar and clean energy. Well, where is it?

  • jim6555

    I can think of two things that the Chinese can do to lower the air pollution problems in Beijing.

    1. Start refining cleaner gasoline. Refineries in China do not remove as much smog producing chemicals from their gasoline as US refineries do.

    2. Institute a Congestion Charge as London has done. If a person wants to bring his or her vehicle into central London, they must go on-line or call a phone number to arrange to purchase a permit for the day. Payment is made by credit card. There are cameras set up throughout the congestion zone which take pictures of the license plates of vehicles passing by. If a vehicle that has not paid the charge is spotted, a ticket, for an amount several times greater than the congestion charge, is sent to the owner. Of course, certain vehicles are exempt from the charge including those belonging to people living inside the congestion zone, taxi cabs, emergency vehicles and buses. The number of cars entering an leaving central London has been greatly reduced since the charge was instituted about 12 years ago.

    • AskandTell

      Interesting post Jim. I had not heard of the Congestion Charge in London…good to know.

  • AskandTell

    Enacting regulations and reducing coal consumption will have a global reaction. Costs will go up making US manufacturing more competitive with China.

  • eyelashviper

    Well, the Chinese government can be ruthless in dealing with those in their culture who break rules, etc., but they at least hold the heads of government or private enterprise accountable at times, which does not occur here.
    If the CEO’s of US Big Energy companies were held criminally accountable for oil spills, mine disasters, there would be a change in the behavior of these companies..

  • Peter Pichler

    The major of Beijing Wang Anshun can already commit suicide!
    The problem is not the missing knowledge or technolgy, but the epidemic corruption, bypassing all legislation, government organisations who lie or deliver fake data and judges who are deciding acoording to currupted interests.

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