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Chinese official asks the US to stop Tweeting about pollution in China


An elderly woman wears a mask as protection against air pollution in Beijing on Nov. 22, 2011.


Mark Ralston

China has demanded that foreign embassies stop publishing information about its air pollution, Bloomberg News reported.

In a press conference, Wu Xiaoqing, China's vice minister of environmental protection, said that the Chinese government should be the only government allowed to report on its pollution levels.

"If the foreign embassies want to collect this kind of information for their own staff and diplomats, I think it's no problem," he told reporters, according to Reuters. "They can't release this information to the outside world."

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While he didn't explicitly say so, Wu's message was clearly directed to the United States, the New York Times reported. China's notoriously bad smog is regularly measured by an air sensor at an American Embassy in Beijing. The American Embassy posts the results from the sensor hourly on Twitter, much to the embarrassment of Chinese officials. 

China also monitors its own air pollution, but its numbers tend to paint a rosier picture than the US figures, Reuters reported.  For example, while the US Embassy on Tuesday reported a pollution level that is "unhealthy for sensitive groups," the Beijing Environmental Protection Agency reported its air quality levels as "good," the Associated Press reported

China has previously asked US to stop its pollution readings, but this is the first public warning about it, BBC News reported