As record air pollution has children and the elderly in Shanghai under house arrest and prompts the cancellation of flights, a Communist Party-linked newspaper is China says the smog is good for national security.
“Smog may affect people’s health and daily lives … but on the battlefield, it can serve as a defensive advantage in military operations,” the Global Times argued in an article on its website.
The article said the particles in the air could impede missile guidance systems, although the last time China experience an attack was during World War II.
Experts said in November that the smog was a threat to national security because surveillance cameras trained on sensitive sites had no visibility.
Readers were “unimpressed” with the article, the South China Morning Post reported, resisting what they saw as an attempt to spin the poisonous air pollution.
“Are you saying the smog is not air pollution, but a national defence measure?” a blogger said on Sina Weibo microblog.
“But enemies wouldn’t need to resort to missile attacks if the smog continues to increase – people will simply be poisoned to death,” wrote another user.
“After seaweed, China has added another secret weapon to the country’s national defence arsenal – smog,” quipped another.
China’s national broadcaster, CCTV, also reported the benefits of the smog, including national unity and equality because the pollution is an equal opportunity crisis. CCTV also said the smog has given the Chinese a sense of humor, and “that sense of humor is the source of strength for defeating the smog.”