China seems to be well in control of the varied management battles that it is fighting in the run-up to its grand coming out party next week, aka the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The stadiums have been built, protesters are being watched closely, unfriendly Internet sites have been blocked and the citizens of Beijing have been given a crash course in good manners.
If only the weather would behave.
Beijing has been wrapped in a haze this week. Officials blame it on hot weather, high humidity and low wind speeds. The government has moved with typically brutal efficiency, shutting down factories and forcing cars off the road. Yet, clean air is still not in sight. That is one battle that is slipping out of control.
Beijing’s problems with smog are further proof that China’s breakneck growth rate has done a fair bit of damage to its environment, far more than India’s has. The smog over Beijing points to a larger policy challenge.