Smog Highlights the Price China is Paying for Rapid Development

BEIJING -  Beijing has developed into an impressive modern city over the past two decades. But a tourist visiting the Chinese capital over the past four days would have difficulty seeing many of its ancient and modern landmarks because of the horrendous pollution hanging over the city.

China's capital has been notorious for its smog over the past few years, as have most northern Chinese cities.

In Beijing, the smog unexpectedly appears and is likely to be when there is no wind to blow away the pollution, as is the case at the moment.

At first you believe, charitably, it's just morning mist.  But it doesn't disappear and just lingers all day.

More than 20 years ago, when I first visited, Beijing, like many Chinese cities, was a very different place.

There was only the odd skyscraper and factory. Most people used bicycles to get around rather than the car.

With the current levels of pollution, it might be healthier to sit in your car for hours in a traffic jam and let the air filters do their work rather than breathe in the polluted air as you cycle around Beijing. 

The smog seems to have just enveloped the city, making it dangerous for people to even go outdoors.

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