30 Jul 2008

Skies clear over Beijing

10:34 am on 30 July 2008

The skies have become clearer over Beijing with visibility across the Chinese capital dramatically improving yesterday thanks to strong winds, allowing the Olympic host city to claim success in its anti-pollution battle.

A spokesman for Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau cited the raft of short-term fixes taken since the start of the month, including taking a million cars off the road and closing down more than 100 factories, for an improvement of over 20 per cent in the air quality.

But it seems the wind has been the key factor in the turnaround.

The other controversy swirling around the Games has been the human rights record of China's communist leaders, and Amnesty International and other critics have been stepping up the pressure on the Chinese government.