Chinese Upset About ‘APEC Blue’ Skies in Beijing, Silenced Online

An "APEC blue" image that was censored on Sina Weibo. (HKU)
An "APEC blue" image that was censored on Sina Weibo. (HKU)

You may have heard that the smog has lifted in China’s capital with a special set of anti-pollution regulations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC summit meeting.

So while world leaders like Barack Obama and Vladamir Putin get to enjoy blue skies during their Beijing visit, locals don’t get the same treatment.

Authorities shut down factories, imposed heavy limits on driving, and gave public sector employees a paid six-day holiday to spruce up Beijing’s image before the forum began.

Bloggers were quick to point out the government’s special treatment, and made jokes about “APEC blue” to refer to something good that won’t last a long time, like: “He doesn’t really love you, he’s just APEC blue!”

Their comments were heavily censored on Sina Weibo, such as this one:

What does APEC blue tell us? It’s not that our government can’t do it, just that we common folk aren’t important enough to have them do it for us!

State media published several commentaries about the issue on Nov. 7, for example the Global Times wrote in an editorial: “North China will learn precious lessons from these current smog reduction efforts and the result, which can be used effectively later.”

However, the editorial then admitted it would be a tough challenge, as did the People’s Daily.

Research by Cecilia

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