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Air Pollution

Beijing's smog may be thick, but parents say the bureaucracy is impenetrable

Beijing's smog may be thick, but parents say the bureaucracy is impenetrable

It was a one-two punch: first came the air pollution, then the bureaucracy.

Sara Zhang, like many Beijing residents, has taken precautions at home to protect herself and two children from the city’s notorious air pollution. Yet her 7-year-old son’s public primary school, Yunhe Elementary, has not installed any air purifiers — humming, boxy machines common in the city’s expensive private schools — leaving its students no choice but to breathe eye-watering toxic air.

Zhang, 39, recently banded with other parents to offer a few air purifiers to the school at no cost. Yet school administrators refused, and their reason — that the government...

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