As eastern China chokes on toxic pollution and skyscrapers disappear into the fog, an editorial goes viral after arguing that smog is bringing "major benefits" to Chinese people
By Tom Phillips, December 9, 2013
Toxic air pollution may be pulverizing the alveoli of hundreds of millions of Chinese but it is also making them more equal, more humorous and even more intelligent, state media claimed on Monday.
In a controversial and widely mocked comment piece entitled, “Five unexpected gains the haze has brought”, a journalist from state television channel CCTV argued that while Chinese people might “hate” the pollution, it was not a “completely useless” phenomenon.
For while filthy air was a dangerous “enemy”, it was simultaneously bringing "major benefits" including making people more united, more sober, more equal, more humorous and better informed.
Smog was making Chinese people equal since it affected the lungs of both rich and poor, the article argued. It was sobering since it made Chinese reflect on the cost of their country’s economic boom. It was also a boon for Chinese humour, since residents of mainland China were turning to comedy in order to keep “light hearts” in the face of what has been dubbed the “airpocalypse”.
But perhaps most importantly, pollution was improving Chinese minds, CCTV's journalist argued.