Unless you’ve been passing the last week in your hermetically-sealed pollution basement (lucky you), it is probably old news that China’s smog is an omnipresent, cancerous, child-killing catastrophe. But now, turn that frown upside down—although, for the love of god, keep the mask on—because CCTV has released the “5 Surprising Benefits” of China’s chunky air.
The “Benefits” were originally posted on a CCTV website. The post was then deleted, but not before internet users were able to copy the list to oblivion. TeaLeafNation managed to find a copy, and translated the lovely listicles for our reading pleasure. Crank that air purifier up to 11 and enjoy:
1. It unifies Chinese people.
Complaining about smog has brought Chinese citizens together. The haze “is everywhere,” the article continues, from “every big city” to “small cities, towns, and villages.”
2. It makes China more equal.
Never mind that wealth inequality remains deep and pervasive in China; everyone has to breathe the same filthy air, right? “Of course,” the article admits, the rich can retreat to their luxury cars or use other means to avoid the worst pollution. “But that is after all a minority,” and even they “have a hard time” avoiding the smog completely.
3. It raises citizen awareness.
Here it gets a bit earnest. The article insists that “with the whole world playing up the Chinese miracle,” the pollution “reminds us that China’s status as ‘the world’s factory’ is not without a price.”
4. Chinese people are funnier when they are contending with deadly smog.
The article lists a number of popular smog-related wisecracks. The best example from a meager crop: “We’re never farther away than when we hold hands on the street — and I can’t see you.”
5. The haze makes Chinese people more knowledgeable.
The article concludes that “through the arguments and the jokes” surrounding China’s pollution, “our knowledge of meteorology, geography, physics, chemistry, and history has progressed.” Also, students of English have added terms like “haze” and “smog” to their lexicon. […]
Chutian Metropolis Daily, a small newspaper based in the industrial city of Wuhan, [tweeted], “Only someone poisoned by the smog would be stupid enough to say something like this.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.