For APEC, Beijing Briefly Cleans Up Its Skies, but Can't Help the Sewage

November 10, 2014 5:58 PM

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Beijing has, once again, cleaned up the air to impress the foreign dignitaries visiting for this week’s APEC summit. The phenomenon is so predictable that there’s even a new phrase on Chinese social media, “APEC blue,” used to refer to something that is beautiful or enticing, but also fleeting. As in, “He’s not that into you, it’s just APEC blue.”

Yet while China’s government can order factories in and near Beijing to shut down for about a week to clear the skies, it can’t as quickly clean up the capital’s dirty urban waterways. A new investigation by the newspaper Economic Information highlights one nasty but lingering problem in Beijing and...

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