Chinese media spins smog as ‘military defense’; citizens not amused


Two men look on at The Bund Thursday in Shanghai, China. Heavy smog continued to hit northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. Photo by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

With smog so dense — the city of Beijing can’t currently be seen from space — it’s hard to think of positives for the pollution plaguing Chinese cities. A nationalist newspaper in China took the glass half-full approach Monday, however, when they wrote that the smog gives China a leg up on military defense.

An article in the Global Times, a state-run affiliate paper of the Communist Party publication the People’s Daily, argued that China’s smog could cause problems for missile guidance systems, thwarting possible missile attacks. The article also went on to compare the smog to sand storms that reduced thermal imaging during the first Gulf War.

China’s state-run CCTV also released a list of five “unforeseen rewards” of having smog, one of which was helping the senses of humor for citizens.

Other media outlets as well as social media users in China were not appreciative of the smog spin from either outlet and responded against it. The Beijing Daily wrote that “Smog affects our breathing. We hope it does not affect our thinking.” Peking University professor Wu Bihu expressed his discontent on microblogging site Sina Weibo: “The smog crisis covering large parts of China has revealed the failure of the government’s development strategy of only going after GDP (growth). CCTV is shameless in trying to cover up for their masters.”

The stories have since been deleted from their respective websites.