UnNews:Fresh air hits Beijing - thousands collapse
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23 July 2008
BEIJING, China - A sudden change in air quality has affected the health of thousands of unsuspecting Beijing citizens. In order to make visitors of the Olympic Games feel more at home, the local authorities have started a campaign for clean air, banning private cars and motorcycles from the city, shutting down the worst polluters among factories and power plants, limiting civilians to five cigarettes a day, and so on.
The success of the campaign went further than expected. Many city-dwellers panicked when they saw an unfamiliar blue color in the sky and called the police or their local astrologer for advice. Others suffered breathing problems and heart attacks when the usual fetid and smoky Beijing atmosphere suddenly failed and the city's stench values dropped to record lows. Doctors reported numerous cases of withdrawal symptoms in their offices.
Moreover, Chinese sports functionaries are not happy with this development. Without saying so explicitly, China's participants in the Olympic sports contests had considered their chances for a medal substantially better than those of foreigners, because they are used to the local conditions of smog and air pollution. Long distance runners and decathletes even underwent regular training units in special sites located leeward of coal plants and sewage works. This special training advantage seems to be lost now due to the unexpected good air during the Games. Two or three Chinese participants even filed a complaint against the good air campaign, however, these individuals were quickly removed from the lists and relocated to one of the popular Laogai forced labor camps in order to improve their manners.
- Beijing pages "IOC official surprised at Beijing's air quality improvement". Beijing 2008, July 23, 2008