China Demands US Stop Tweeting About Its Air
They complain US standards unfair, and data may not be 'rigorous'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 5, 2012 2:50 PM CDT
In this Jan. 10, 2012, file photo, a man rides an electric bike across a street shrouded by haze in Beijing.   (Andy Wong)

(Newser) – China isn't just happy censoring its own tweets anymore. China told foreign embassies today to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in the country, escalating its objections to a popular US Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in smoggy Beijing. Only the Chinese government is authorized to monitor and publish air quality information, vice environmental minister Wu Xiaoqing told reporters, saying data from other sources may not be rigorous, and complaining that it isn't fair to judge Chinese air by American standards.

China's standards are much lower than the US' ever-tightening ones; Wu says China's bar "takes into account the level of our current stage of development." China has long taken issue with the feed, which has more than 19,000 followers, but its past objections were raised quietly. US consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou also post readings of the cities' air quality on Twitter, and all three feeds were operating normally today. An embassy spokesman says they are meant to inform Americans living in the three cities.