Even Beijing’s Mayor Says the City is Unlivable

Charles Liu , January 27, 2015 8:10am

beijing smogIf waking up every day to grey, dreary mornings in Beijing is getting you down, you’re not alone. During a presentation at the 14th annual People’s Representative Conference, the Mayor of Beijing, Wang Anshun, conceded that “Beijing is not a livable city“.

Here’s what he had to say:

In establishing a top-tier, internationalized livable and harmonious city, Beijing is currently establishing a system of standards, something that is very important. At the present time however, Beijing is not a livable city.


There was no shortage of days in 2014 where the PM 2.5 reading, which measures particulate matter in the air, was above 200, considered hazardous. Wang blamed the city’s pollution problem to a massive influx of vehicles and an uneven distribution of industrial factories. Currently, 71.8 percent of all factories in Beijing are concentrated in just six of the city’s districts.

To address these concerns, Beijing got rid of 476,000 vehicles last year that failed to meet emission standards. The city also dismantled 36 trading centers and closed 392 factories.

Yet, as bad as the city’s air quality has become, smog is not the Mayor’s top priority. He’s more concerned with over population:

Seeing that there is a mad rush of people flocking to the city, population control remains Beijing’s number one problem.

And so while the mayor’s speech included buzzwords like “living standards” and “greenification”, overpopulation sits at the top of the list. At 21.5 million residents, Beijing continues to grow at a feverish pace. There were 368,000 new arrivals to the city last year, and despite the poor air quality, the city is projecting similar numbers for 2015. The city has become so dense that its western area is packed with 25,700 people per square kilometer.

Wang continues to promise change, arguing his mandate is the people’s mandate:

As the economy achieves a new state of being, so does society. The government should not be afraid of being critical as this reflects the will of the people.

Photo: People’s Daily Online

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor