BEIJING - Heavy smog that blanketed northern China at the weekend cleared somewhat on Monday, with flights in Beijing back to normal, but it was likely only to be a brief respite with more choking smog expected to return to the wintry north within 24 hours.
Weather forecasts on Monday showed the smog would return to Beijing and nearby Tianjin city from Tuesday. It was expected to persist until Thursday in Hebei, the heavily industrialized province that surrounds the Chinese capital, and Henan and Shandong provinces as the north battles freezing temperatures.
Authorities have been issuing smog alerts across China's north since mid-December, leading to orders for hundreds of factories to cut production or close outright and for restrictions on motorists to cut emissions.
Pollution alerts are common in northern China, especially during winter when energy demand, much of it met by coal, soars.