The Beijing authorities public reaction to the city’s lethal pollution is not unlike the captain of the Titanic making an announcement saying “there is no need to panic we are just stopping to take on a little ice.”
“A truth suppressed is a falsehood spread”. And this sums up the coverage of the record pollution levels in China’s capital.
But although the authorities have forced the media to play down the issue netizens are getting the word out. The authorities position is ludicrous. It is possible to reasonably successfully lie about or suppress the facts over, say, protests or unrest in other parts of the country but it is bit hard to hide the fact every breath is like having your head down the chimney from a steam locomotive.
People do tend to notice when they have trouble breathing despite the hearty reassurances of the people in power it is nothing to worry about. It is hardly surprising that people are tending to believe the empirical evidence rather than the official nonsense. Again censorship actions such as these are more likely to trigger the social upheaval the Chinese leaders so fear rather than prevent them.