Reuters in Beijing
Despite China’s demand that foreign embassies stop releasing their own air pollution data, clearly a critique aimed at the US embassy’s air quality index, Washington states it will not stop providing the service.
The US embassy in Beijing and the consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou each have an air quality monitor to check the level of pollutants around their offices and the collected data is published via Twitter every hour. Their numbers often differ greatly from those released by the Chinese government and many residents are inclined to view the government’s official readings as inaccurate.
Yesterday the Chinese government called for foreign reports on China’s air quality to stop, citing interference in internal affairs and a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The US State Department stated that it does “not believe the pollution monitoring reports violated either Chinese laws or the Vienna Convention and that the embassy would continue to release them.” They claim the reports constitute a service provided to Americans working in the embassy and living in the country.
The embassy has acknowledged that the readings from its one machine cannot be used for general citywide monitoring.
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