BEIJING - Commentaries by
two of China's most influential news outlets suggesting that an ongoing air
pollution crisis was not without a silver lining drew a withering reaction on
Tuesday from internet users and other media.
In online commentaries on
Monday, state broadcaster CCTV and the widely read tabloid the Global Times,
published by the Communist Party's official People's Daily, both tried to put a
positive spin on China's smog problem.
The Global Times said smog could
be useful in military situations, as it could hinder the use of guided missiles,
while CCTV listed five "unforeseen rewards" for smog, including helping Chinese
people's sense of humor.
While both pieces have since been deleted from
their websites, Chinese newspapers lost little time in denouncing their point of
view, in an unusual case of state media criticizing other state media, showing
the scale of the anger.
"Is the smog supposed to lift if we laugh about
it?" wrote the Beijing Business Today, published by the city government's
official Beijing Daily. "Smog affects our breathing. We hope it does not affect
our thinking." The Dongguan Times, from a heavily industrial city close to the
border with Hong Kong, said CCTV's comments were so bizarre people did not know
"whether to laugh or cry".
"There's nothing funny about the health
dangers of smog," it wrote.