Economist Conferences: Bellwether China – Well Timed, But Well Ventilated?

Yesterday mid-day in Beijing.

I leave tomorrow for Beijing. As usual I’m reviewing to ensure I have the necessary files. I checked in on-line for my flight and confirmed all my appointments. Now I need to rush out and buy a face mask. The surgical masks we have in the office for those suffering flu just won’t do.  Apparently the particles are finer and more pervasive. I need an industrial model.

Our client Economist Conferences is hosting their annual Bellwether China event on Wednesday. This ‘A List’ business event features high profile leaders, such as the keynote address from Zhu Min, Deputy managing director, International Monetary Fund. The event is well attended by leading business professionals, economists, academics, journalists, politicians and more.

(To follow the event on Twitter subscribe to @EC_Bellwether and follow the hashtag #BWChina.)

Thankfully the event is held indoors at The Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel. (I am doubly thankful as I am a loyal Starwood Preferred Guest member and enjoy their amazing properties every chance I get!) The air pollution levels make any outdoor activities damaging to your health. According to an article in Al Jazeera:

“On Saturday, the US embassy in Beijing, which monitors air quality from its rooftop and publishes pollution levels on a Twitter feed, described the pollution levels as “beyond index”.

Just as an FYI the Air Pollution Index (API) was designed to measure the amounts of particulates in the air. At 300 the index is rated as “Severely Polluted”. Some recordings have API topping out above 900 in Beijing today with no sign of a change any day soon. I’ll have my face mask, sinus tablets and asthma medicine in case I get a “once every five years” attack. 

Just before lunch tomorrow a panel will address the subject, “Will China save the world?”  An all-star line-up of economists and politicians will look at how the growth of China has thrown a lifeline to the rest of the world during the global financial crisis. Timely though will be a focus on the development of China and its own future especially if citizens are confined indoors due to toxic levels of air pollution.

I look forward to the Economist Bellwether China tomorrow in Beijing. I just hope the hotel’s ventilation can cope with the incredible strain of record-level pollution.

Al Jazeera’s comparison of Beijing with Chicago

Trapped Indoors? Tweet! Weibo Traffic Explodes

This weekend saw a dramatic increase in traffic on China’s main micro-blogging site, Sina Weibo (equivalent to Twitter). People normally out and about for the weekend were locked indoors with little to do. The comments on air pollution were trending well above normal.

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